Top 5 tips for organising sustainable events

Tue 1 Dec 2020

Event management is one area in which professionals can do their part to adopt environmentally-sustainable practices.

Here are our top 5 tips for organising sustainable events:

1.       Understand your environmental impact

The first step you need to take before you try and make your event more environmentally-friendly is to understand what impact your event is already having on the environment.

As a general rule, the higher the costs to run your event, the higher the carbon impact of your event. Perhaps the best example of this is when it comes to power consumption and transport.

Breaking down your environmental impacts into groups – such as waste management and audience transport – can help you better identify and effectively manage these impacts.

2.       Devise a plan

As with any event, proper planning is essential. Once you’ve identified which environmental impact area you’re going to focus on reducing, you need to set some realistic goals and devise a plan for meeting those goals.

Choosing the right person to see through your plan is essential. Keep in mind that person needs to not only have the time to carry out the plan, but also the influence to get other stakeholders on-board.

It’s also important to set yourself milestones and ensure these are met. It can be easy to let your environmental goals fall by the wayside when you have a big event on your hands with a seemingly endless list of other priorities.

Finally, to figure out if your plan worked, make sure you decide on what you’re going to measure and how you’ll measure it before you get started. For example, you might measure the percentage of waste you recycled or the amount of diesel you used during your event.

3.       Involve external stakeholders

Involving external stakeholders such as contractors to help you with reducing your event’s environmental impacts will not only free up more time for your event team, but also allow you to get valuable external input.

If you mention to contractors you want their help with reducing environmental impacts when they’re bidding for the job, they’ll do their best to come up with a proposal that’s both innovative and cost-effective to remain competitive.

Just make sure you involve contractors as early as possible, so that they have ample time to come up with solutions and prepare their proposal.

4.       Organise the right waste management

Most attendees at any event will visit a bin at least once. So having the right waste management in place is an excellent (and simple) opportunity to both show that you care about the environment, and enhance your brand image at the same time.

It starts with choosing the right bins. Signage should be placed at general eye-level and state concisely and clearly what needs to go in each bin. Using bins that restrict aperture is also a good way to ensure people put the right waste into the right bin.

It’s also important to ensure any contractors you’ve assigned to take care of your waste management are upfront about what will happen to your event waste. Ask them to stipulate in their contract where the rubbish and recycling will go so you can be sure waste will be handled in line with best sustainable practices.

5.       Start simple

Tackling the easiest environmental impact area will give you the best start.

Audience transport tends to be one of the easiest areas to tackle. It also happens to be the greatest environmental impact area for most events.

Emphasising the most sustainable way for your event-goers to get to and from your event is the most important action you need to take here.

Discourage single car use and encourage public transport, walking and cycling as much as possible. Providing free dedicated transport is a great way to get event-goers from far and wide to and from your event, and helps to discourage many of them from travelling by car.

Including clear information on efficient and cost-effective alternatives to car travel when providing information about your event will greatly help in reducing the environmental impact of audience transport.

Falmouth Flexible offers a 2-week online course in A Greener Festival Assessor Training that will give you the specialist knowledge and skills you need to effectively identify environmental impacts, organise sustainable events and carry out environmental assessments.

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