Last month, we wrote about the urgency of sustainable events in our Event Trends for 2019 report. This is such an important conversation that event planners should be having because events can generate a large amount of waste, which has a significant impact on the environment, which we all share.
Sustainable events are planned and conducted in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner. This means incorporating plans to use less energy, water, produce less waste and limit greenhouse gases where possible. By taking steps to ensure your event is green, you are reducing its carbon footprint and making a difference to the current climate crisis.
At Royal Blue Events, we are always considering options to ensure we are being respectful to the environment. Sometimes, we make small adjustments which can have a big impact. So how can you make your events more green? What are your options and where do you begin? See our list below for some helpful suggestions to get you started.
Work with your caterer to plan a menu that consists of local food and seasonal ingredients. Be sure to give an accurate count of guests, as close to the event as possible, which will help reduce food waste and avoid buffet top-ups until actually required. If there is wasted food, consider donating it to a local food bank or charity. Also, aim to use water efficiently, avoid topping up glasses pre-event and provide pitchers instead.
With the rapid adaptation of various technologies, we are privileged with the ability to communicate everything online. Instead of paper invitations, flyers and handouts make the most of e-blasts, digital flyers, apps and event websites to communicate all the essential details.
Speak with your venue about recycling waste and be sure to understand the system and infrastructure in place. Encourage recycling and make it easy for guests to dispose of food, recyclables and general waste.
Many marine animals are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean. Stay away from plastic utensils and straws, plan to use recyclable or biodegradable utensils instead. You can also get creative and consider using edible utensils too. Now that will give attendees something to talk about!
Offer your guests an active way to generate power, by cycling. Using exercise bikes to supply electricity is a great way to inspire attendees to keep fit and reduce the carbon footprint. Consider using bikes as recharge stations, to light up décor/messages as well as screens and sound equipment.
Consider arranging a carpool system for attendees that need to drive to the event venue. Offer them an easy way to commute together and encourage them to do so. You can also consider recruiting volunteer drivers to provide a shuttle service if appropriate.
Producing sustainable events needs to become the norm. It is a great way to give back to the environment and positively make a difference.
Ruby Sohi is founder and lead event planner at Royal Blue Events Management. She has extensive experience in event production and marketing. Actively involved in the community, she volunteers for the Sikh Foundation of Canada and Women of Influence. She is also a board member for the American Marketing Association (Toronto) serving as VP of Programming & Events. Ruby has delivered events across Canada and is passionate about enhancing the industry and empowering women. Read her full bio here.