Sustainable events have never been more important.

It’s time to change the way you plan events so you always have sustainability in mind. These simple steps are here to help you begin your sustainable journey and host more sustainable events.

1. Why is it important?

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. With this commitment in place, it’s safe to say that the trend for sustainable venues isn’t going anywhere soon. 
As a venue manager or owner, you are operating in one of the most stressful industries imaginable and yes, some of the measures listed below will require some investment in terms of time and money. However, that time and money will pay dividends in the long run as many of them are about running things a bit more efficiently. Soak up as much information as possible about how to run a more sustainable venue and let us help you on the road to becoming a ‘greener’ venue.

2. Assess your current impact

Before you know where to make improvements, you need to know the current impact of your venue. In most cases, running large or complex events tends to go hand-in-hand with increased costs. By making small changes you not only decrease your environmental footprint, but you can also increase your bottom line.
To start assessing your current impact, think of how you use disposable materials, how you manage power consumption, transport, cleaning, etc. The next step is to divide these into groups. This approach gives you the ability to tackle one group at a time and makes the whole process easier to manage and is the first step towards planning more sustainable events.

a person typing on a laptop

3. Start with a plan

Event management revolves around planning, and running a more sustainable venue is no exception. If you’ve grouped your operations and processes together as described above, pick an area to focus on and set yourself realistic goals to achieve. The next aspect is to decide who will lead this project. Are you taking charge yourself or will you pass it over to a senior or junior colleague? 
The saying goes, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” There is no point in going through the work of reducing your impact if there is no way to determine how successful your plans were. So make sure you decide in the planning stage what you are going to measure and how you will measure it.

4. Go paperless

Starting with something as simple as going paperless is an easy way to make an impact. Think about creating an event page, using an app or emailing subscriptions to your attendees instead of mailing out physical invites. 
These changes not only minimize your footprint but will also allow you to streamline communications with your attendees and staff in real-time. A sudden change to your event won’t seem so daunting as you can easily distribute this new information to your attendees.

5. Transport options

The location and transportation at your event can create a huge opportunity to cut down your carbon footprint. Start by researching if there are low-carbon routes to your venue and provide detailed directions on your site, brochures and in your emails.
Other aspects that are worth looking into are using state-of-the-art video conferencing equipment or picking up your guests from two or three central points, reducing their commuter stress as well as their carbon footprint. If you have a good public transport network you can reach out to them to see how you can make your venue more easily reachable, particularly at the hours your venues usually start and end.
A birds eye view of cars driving on a road

6. Food & Drinks

Another area that requires focus is reducing waste in food & drinks. Consider reusable or biodegradable cups if you know your event is likely to generate a lot of waste. We know that attendees tend to drop out and you’re left with too much food, but there are other options than throwing your food out!
Stay in touch with your guest list so that you can estimate numbers as accurately as possible. Keep your caterers updated with any changes to your guest list to keep wastage at a minimum. If you do happen to end up with leftover food consider donating it to those in need.

7. Event Energy usage

Using renewable energy sources is an easy switch that has the potential of not only reducing your footprint, but also reducing your overall energy bill. Further investment in the latest technology can also help cut power usage. Think of switching to LED lighting and more energy-efficient systems. As always, rely on the experts in their field to make suggestions on how you can reduce your overall energy usage.

a lightbulb

8. Event waste

Reducing the waste your events generate should be a focus area from the start. You don’t want to find your venue littered with rubbish at the end of your event. It doesn’t only look appealing, but it adds a lot of time and effort to the clearing up. Does your venue already have a recycling scheme in place? That’s an easy place to start and once you have this implemented, you can provide your guests with information about where they can recycle at your venue. As with most cases though, prevention is better than cure, so think about introducing biodegradable cups and utensils to bring down your impact even further.

9.  Ease into it

These are just a few ways you can make sure you are being more sustainable in the day to day running of your venue. We appreciate that the road to becoming a sustainable venue is going to take time, money, and a strong vision. However, by being patient, consistent and making sure your goals are being met you are doing everything in your power to ensure you are lowering your carbon footprint and helping to save the planet, one biodegradable cup at a time.
The time is now to go green, these steps should help you host more sustainable events but if you need more inspiration take a look at our live panel recording at ZSL with three sustainability experts.

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