Will your next corporate event be environmentally sustainable?

Corporate events are your opportunity to shine - to show off what you can offer, what your organization is all about and why your delegates should continue to work with you. How you organize your event says a lot about your company values. With corporate social responsibility a hot topic, make your next event environmentally sustainable and help our planet and your business.

The average conference produces 1.89 kilograms of waste per day for each attendee, as well as 176.67 kilograms of CO2 emissions per person, according to Meet Green. Over three days, a large corporate event could contribute around 3480 kilograms of waste to landfill. A little more than a third of what's disposed of during an event is recyclable and delegate travel accounts for almost 90 per cent of its carbon emissions.

It takes just a few simple changes to start making your corporate events sustainable and reap the environmental, financial and commercial benefits.

The business case for green events

A sustainable event is a great opportunity to share your brand values.

Switching to green doesn't just provide environmental benefits. Done properly, it can also reduce your event costs and present a valuable marketing opportunity.

Minimizing use of electricity, fuel, water and other types of utilities means hosting your event is immediately more cost-effective. According to Meet Green, the Unitarian Universalist Association reported a saving of $80,000 per year by getting rid of shuttle buses for their annual event, while Powerful Thinking report that Shambala Festival in the UK cut fuel consumption by 20 per cent by managing their power more efficiently.

Embracing sustainability boosts the environment and your business.

Embracing sustainability boosts the environment and your business.

Alongside potential savings, holding a sustainable event creates an opportunity to share your brand values and appeal to consumers on an emotional level. As many as 66 per cent of consumers are willing to pay more for companies who take sustainability seriously, according to Nielsen. Weave your event sustainability practices into other marketing activities so that potential customers see your values however they choose to interact with your organisation.

A commitment to event sustainability also speaks strongly to staff. A company philosophy that recognizes corporate social responsibility reinforces the overall mission of your organization and what staff are contributing to.

Making your corporate event more environmentally sustainable

It may not be possible to cut your carbon footprint altogether, but you can substantially reduce it by incorporating eco-strategies into your corporate event planning policy.

1) Venue selection

Look for venues who reuse and recycle wherever possible.

Selecting your venue wisely has the power to reduce energy and fuel usage, as well as reduce your event's wider carbon footprint. One of the biggest considerations when planning a corporate event is where delegates will stay and how they will reach the venue.

Choose a venue that's as close to your delegates as possible, reducing the number of attendees who travel long distances to attend. Make their travel environmentally friendly by ensuring your event is within easy reach of public transport. Post-arrival, provide transport between key locations - ideally with a company committed to using eco-friendly vehicles.

Additionally, lots of organisations now offer carbon emission offset schemes where companies or individuals invest in environmental projects around the world to reduce their footprint.

A green venue can help you align your event with your corporate responsibility initiatives and provide a unique perspective to your event.

A green venue can help you align your event with your corporate responsibility initiatives and provide a unique perspective to your event.

Before committing to a venue, ask them to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. Look for venues who reuse and recycle, make the most of natural light in meeting and conference rooms and who source locally and organically grown produce as much as possible.

Should your event require temporary buildings or outdoor spaces, choose suppliers who source locally rather than ship their materials across continents. Better still, request that your suppliers reuse wherever possible.

2) Waste management

Event waste mainly comprises of disposable packaging and excess food supplies. A key way to manage your waste is look carefully at how you can reuse and recycle materials and eliminate unnecessary excess. Strategies for reducing waste are also about choosing suppliers who share a vision for environmentally sustainable events, and educating delegates so that they can support your initiatives throughout.

Key areas to examine during event planning include:

  • Cutting single-use water bottles and providing tap water in glass bottles at key points throughout the venue.
  • Avoiding plastic cutlery, plates or cups and replacing with washable and reusable options.
  • Asking delegates to pre-order meals to reduce excess food.
  • Ensuring appropriate recycling and rubbish bins are placed throughout the event and making arrangements for regular collection.
  • Employing composting systems behind the scenes to further minimize landfill contributions.
  • Offering incentives for delegates who bring their own water bottles and reusable cups.
  • Creating reusable corporate branding that can be used at a number of events no matter the topic or purpose.

Even the most simple waste management strategies can improve the environmental outcome of your event.

Even the most simple waste management strategies can improve the environmental outcome of your event.

3) Technology and innovation

Making use of new technology is a key component in your green strategy before, during and after the event. Whether it's technology event organizers make use of personally or that suppliers use as part of their service, new initiatives play a part in reducing your environmental footprint at every level.

Reduce the number of trees cut down to support your event by avoiding printed event programs and other information. Register attendees online and display key event information digitally. Swapping paper for digital signage not only reduces printing but looks more professional, high-quality and is easily changed and updated throughout the event.

Send a clear message to delegates about your values by using technology to ensure they're fully up-to-date from the moment they inquire with a dedicated event information portal or mobile app. Both options allow you to organize large amounts of information more easily, and a mobile app enables delegates to access information all from the one platform.

You can easily send delegate messages or include a chatbot concierge which reduces your staffing requirements and therefore the number of people using resources on-site. Why not provide a digital event map or upload key presentations as they happen?

Incorporating eco-friendly tech into your concert enhances the delegate experience and protects our planet.

Incorporating eco-friendly tech into your concert enhances the delegate experience and protects our planet.

Your event analytics can also benefit from new technology. Prompt your delegates to complete a feedback survey via email or your event app. This cuts on-site paper surveys, allows delegates to engage on their own terms and results in instant data capture with no need for manual input.

Technology also plays a large part in how much energy and fuel is used. Choose transport providers who work to reduce carbon emissions with electric-powered or hybrid cars, provide solar-powered charging stations for delegates and opt for venues with smart building technology to limit energy wastage.

Environmental responsibility is more important now than ever before. At cievents, we support your strategic objectives with respect to the social and environmental impact of our industry. To work with ruthless innovators with a keen mind for protecting our planet, get in touch with cievents today.

READ MORE