Sustainable venues: Why they’re important and how to improve your business

In this day and age it’s near impossible to be unaware of your carbon footprint. Especially when working in the events industry, which has recently launched a new vision to become completely waste free by 2020.
As a Venue Manager or owner, it’s important to know as much information as possible about how to run a more sustainable venue and how to become part of this new event industry roadmap initiative.
We’ve got a few tips and tricks that’ll help you on the road to being a ‘greener’ venue this year now that sustainable venues are on the rise.

Ditch the straws!

It’s said that nearly two billion plastic straws are thrown away each year in our city. With a combined weight of 1,000 tonnes, these seemingly harmless drink accessories can have a big impact on the environment and the fragile ecosystems of this planet.
There’s plenty of alternatives to the plastic straw including eco-friendly and biodegradable options, so do your research and be a part of this great campaign.
Ditch plastic straws once and for all and go completely straw free in 2018! Late in 2017, the Evening Standard launched the Last Straw Campaign, a drive to help promote an end to the wasteful use of billions of environmentally damaging plastic straws used in London each day in the Events Industry.
So, heaps of venues including restaurants, bars, cafes and coffee shops across the capital joined the pledge to go plastic straw free. You can see a few of the venues that joined the pledge on our support page here.
a bird eye view of a bunch of colourful plastic straws


In 2018, the United Kingdom has been encouraging a much more public focus on environmental awareness. Companies and venues alike should be doing everything in their power to lower their carbon footprint.
When it comes to venue management, if you nail the process amongst your team, your Guests will do the same! It’s important as a venue holder that you illustrate a connection to these public concerns and demonstrate a concrete recycling plan to the best of your ability.
One easy way to do this is to make sure all the bins in your venue are clearly labelled in every room, from the main Space to the staff room and kitchen. This will ensure that everyone knows what should be going where!
A successful recycling plan will equip both customers and employees to take ownership of their part to play in waste reduction. Make sure you check in with your local borough to find out what services and guidelines they can provide depending on where your venue is located.

‘Greener’ directions

When offering directions to your venue, always think green. Try to promote routes with public transport or walks rather than the distance it would take to drive there or get an Uber.
By promoting these more environmentally friendly routes to your venue, it’ll really help in lowering the amount of pollution caused by Guests to and from the venue each day.
5 or more bikes all lined up on a bike rack, making the top wheels slightly high than the back wheels. In the background is a park with green grass, trees and a blue sky

Paper-less processes

When looking through all the processes set up to keep your venue running on a day to day basis, take advantage of any way you can digitalise processes to ensure you’re wasting as little paper as possible. There’s plenty of ways you can go paper-free this year.
Whether that’s with invites, invoices and contracts for the events you run, down to the way you run the HR systems amongst your team. If there’s a way to ditch the paper you should do it.
Invoices and Contracts
Are you still printing out physical invoices and contracts? Look into installing Adobe Sign onto your computer systems so that you can digitalise the whole system without having to go anywhere near a printer.
Run Sheets
We get it, when you work in a busy venue with lots of different team members working on multiple events, you need to make sure the whole venue runs like clockwork. If you print out run sheets or rotas for the team then consider sending around a digital version instead of the old school hard copy.
The front of house team can then view this information on their phone or tablet and the day will still run as seamlessly as ever! Without any trees being harmed in the process…
HR Systems
Running a venue also means you are probably in charge of lots of different team members. Look into all the different online systems out there that can help run your office, paper-free. Air is a great system that can be used to manage your whole team’s essential information in one place.
So you can forget the annoying spreadsheets and printed contracts. From sick days, holidays and contracts everything can be organised and sorted in one place. Another great system is Xero, a cloud-based accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses. Your whole company control their pay and expenses all from their desktop. Again making the whole process paperless.
Invites and Collateral
If you are hosting multiple events a month at your venue, avoid sending out paper invitations. Instead, send digital invites to which people can RSVP online from the comfort of their own desk. Set up a paperless registration process so the whole process is an online problem-free dream!
If you’re hosting a big event at your venue, name badges are a must to make networking as easy as possible for your Guests. But, rather than using paper or plastic to create name badges, look into using greener alternatives such as corn-starch badges. They are fully compostable and therefore much better for your carbon footprint.
A new trend hitting venues recently is the implementation of the digital menu. This can be as simple as installing a tablet onto tables where Guests can then flick through the menu on the screen rather than on paper.
The benefit of this new technology is that there’s no more wasted paper, constantly changing and then tossed out in a few months as promotions and menus change. There are more great ideas on how to use technology to better your customer service and make your venue more sustainable here.

Eco-friendly food

Ensure your catering is as ‘green’ as it can be with forward-planning and a bit of innovative thinking. When planning the menu for your venue, try to consider seasonal and local food, which isn’t likely to leave a big carbon footprint. Inevitably you will always end up with some leftover food.
Why not donate any uneaten food to a charity such as Food Cycle? This organisation was set up to support those who are most vulnerable by serving them hot and tasty lunches and dinners every day made entirely from leftover produce from venues across the city.

Save your energy

It may take you an extra 30 minutes at the end of the day, but make sure you brief your team about doing a quick circuit of the venue before they lock up to make sure no lights or unnecessary appliances have been left on. In 2007, a study showed that the music industry in the UK was responsible for an estimated annual carbon footprint of 540,000 tonnes CO2e1.
Shockingly around 125,000 tonnes of CO2e was attributed to the energy use of 2,200 licensed venues in the UK. So something as simple as making sure all the lights are switched off at the end of the day can make a huge difference! This will not only help lower your energy consumption, but it might also save you some money off your bills at the end of the month! So, everyone’s a winner.
a cream wall with a white light switch
These are just a few ways you can make sure you are being more sustainable in the day to days runnings on your venue. Make sure you’re doing everything in your power to ensure you’re lowering your carbon footprint and helping to save the planet, one plastic straw at a time.