Are you in charge of planning your organization’s next corporate event? Whether it’s an international convention or a regional tradeshow, this type of gathering is capable of forging stronger connections, enhancing relationships, and driving business to new heights. However, it could also create an excessive amount of waste, increase the company’s carbon footprint, and negatively impact the environment and local communities.
To leave a better impression on the Earth — as well as the attendees — you should use this opportunity to show the organization’s commitment to driving positive change for the environment. Below, we’ll briefly go over a few ways to incorporate sustainability and make your business gathering “green”.
First things first is the venue. More and more venues have become sustainably-minded over the past few years by enacting sustainable policies. From investing in battery-powered or biodiesel vehicles for transportation services to the installation of energy-efficient lighting and solar panels, there are many approaches a venue can take to reduce the space’s impact.
Research and ask to see a venue’s ESG or sustainability policies before making your decision. Examples to keep an eye out for include LEED, ISO, Green Key, and Green Seal. If your event is to be hosted over multiple days, to reduce travel emissions, which can account for up to 80% of an event’s carbon emissions, pick a venue with accommodation on-site or nearby. You should also consider offering discounted or free public transport for all in-person attendees.
It’s also advised to opt for a venue with accommodations for those coming in from out of town. Doing so could further cut back on travel, which can account for up to 80% of an event’s carbon emissions.
Next, there’s the food. Food waste is another big-time offender when it comes to corporate events. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the waste and still put on a good spread. For instance, there are “no waste catering” menu options, which transform “scraps” into high-end dishes, and most venues will be able to provide meat-free or fully vegan menus. What’s more, the taste and presentation of these dishes are just as good without a loss of quality.
Where your caterers source their produce for food and beverages, including alcohol, can also have a big impact. For example, select a venue or caterer that works with local suppliers which will dramatically reduce transport emissions and support local producers and their communities. You might be surprised to discover there are suppliers who specialize in providing organic and biodynamic drinks to delight the taste buds with seasonal produce and ingenuity.
Other ways to cut back on waste is to skip single-use plastic. Instead, you could invite attendees and onsite suppliers alike to be part of your sustainability journey and craft pre-event communications encouraging everyone to bring their own refillable water bottles and save yourselves some money on cups and waste disposal in the process! There are so many alternative, more sustainably produced products you could consider to reduce the immense number of items that end up in the landfill after a social or business event is over.
Sustainable event planning doesn’t have to mean more work and higher budgets. Partner with an agency that can offer strategic guidance around the infinite opportunities to create a more sustainable event while optimizing the attendee experience and delivering on your business goals.
Infographic created by FIRST.