How to Organize Events Responsibly for Sustainability
Updated: Jul 14
As an ’Exhibitions and Event Management student, I consider myself fortunate that I have learned about how to serve my communities ( and just have fun) while practicing sustainability; nonetheless, I
often encounter several individuals who, knowingly or accidentally so, will practice irresponsible sustainability habits in order to reduce their lavish expenses. Sadly, an hour’s event commonly results in years of harmful consequences; accordingly, I wish to share some tips with this very community so
The first item on this agenda is one of the most expensive elements of any gathering (and a primary reason why I attend any event) - food and beverage! There are sustainable logistics involved that one is likely to dismiss when preparing an event, and an important one is food transportation: It is important that, before one decides on a menu, one must consider what options one has locally. Ideally, one can find a venue that serves food at reasonable rates; nonetheless, try to have a couple of alternatives within a 10-minute commute from the venue. In fact, just by doing this, you are reducing transportation emissions. Also, if you have excess food leftover by any chance and no one wants to eat it later, please, do not throw it away! Various non-profit organizations accept leftovers to feed those without resources., In fact, organizations such as “Why Hunger” and “Replate” are a couple of examples of groups of individuals who will make good use of your excesses.
Secondly, and I touched briefly on it above, please be considerate of the venue you choose. If you are not setting an event in your place, be sure to seek out venues with a clear environmental policy. While the hospitality and tourism industry profitability sometimes depends on stating that they are eco-friendly, statements could be misleading in some situations. Make sure to ask if they have environmental management systems or a green tourism certification in the case of hotels. Another essential piece of advice, if you are planning a short gathering, is to avoid using large venues, for these spaces will require more energy than one may need when many cities can count on small venues that will do the work splendidly and reduce energy consumption.
My next tip is nothing new but is worth mentioning: led lighting is a no-brainer when organizing events, as they are incredibly efficient, clean, and, arguably, the most eco-friendly method of illumination that there is; anyone can adjust how they will look and can adapt to any needs and desired expectations. Furthermore, they are green accredited, so you can rest assured that they will not harm the environment as other illumination sources would.
A common concern is that creating a sustainable event would likely result in a higher cost, but this is inaccurate; in fact, remaining eco-friendly in your event usually will save you money. As Shawna Mckinley, an event sustainability specialist, says, “In my experience, eco-efficient event practices save money in many situations. Particularly when it comes to waste-wise food and beverage planning and design-for-reuse branding. And further, creative sponsor activation inspired by sustainability can earn your event new sources of revenue.”
Lastly, one particular benefit of remaining sustainably mindful when holding events is that it increases the likelihood of more such gatherings occurring, as it promises that our planet remains healthy.
Ultimately, these tips are just a few of the many ways to ensure that you can enjoy important occasions while simultaneously supporting our mission of protecting our beloved environment. In conclusion, I agree with Jennifer Nini’s words that we cannot achieve an eco-friendly environment by just consuming; any small action that we take can lead to a long-term impact on the communities, in which we are all enrooted...
“10 Ways to Make Your Event More Sustainable.” Corporate Events, Corporate Events, 22 May 2019, corporate-events.co.uk/10-sustainable-event-ideas/.
McKinley, Shawna. “New Sustainable Event Management (2019 Edition): A Free Guide to Better Green Meetings.” EventMB, EventMB, 12 Sept. 2019, www.eventmanagerblog.com/sustainable-event-management.