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Event Sustainability: Definition and Importance

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Sustainability and environmental responsibility are now top priorities. Organizations are increasingly aware of the consequences their activities have on the planet. The fact is that everything, absolutely everything, has an impact on your environmental footprint; from the manufacturing and marketing of a product or service to marketing and events. Therefore, it is important to consider corporate communications and events that have the power to positively or negatively influence your company's environmental footprint. Here's everything you need to know to get started on the topic.

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Definition of Environmental Footprint

The environmental footprint is defined as a measure of the environmental impact of an individual, community, business, or nation on the Earth. It assesses the amount of natural resources needed to support a specific lifestyle or activity while absorbing the waste produced by that activity. It is often expressed in global hectares (gha).

In other words, we can define the environmental footprint as the calculation of the pressure exerted on ecosystems to provide the necessary resources and absorb the waste produced by a given activity. The goal is to maintain a balanced environmental footprint with its surroundings.

Environmental Footprint vs. Carbon Footprint

Note that the environmental footprint and the carbon footprint are not the same thing. The carbon footprint corresponds to the amount of CO2 emitted by the individual or organization in question, whether due to transportation, food, waste, or other factors. The carbon footprint is thus a component used in calculating the environmental footprint.

Why Care About the Environmental Footprint of Your Corporate Communications?

1. Environmental Responsibility

As a corporate citizen, you have a responsibility to minimize your environmental footprint. Communications in all forms - especially meetings and events that involve travel and resource consumption - have a significant impact on the environment. By making your events eco-friendly, you minimize negative effects on your community and contribute to the preservation of the planet.

2. Cost Savings and Resource Optimization

In-person events often require large quantities of paper, food, water, and other resources. By reducing these needs, you save valuable natural resources and reduce the amount of waste generated. Nowadays, several strategies can help you reduce the environmental footprint of your events. With virtual options, numerous alternative solutions, interesting trends, and new technologies are available to you.

Sustainable communications and events can often be more cost-effective in the long run. Savings from more efficient resource use contribute to reducing operational costs.

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3. Positive Brand Image

Companies and organizations that demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility can enhance their brand image and attract an environmentally conscious audience. This can become a decisive factor for companies looking to attract and retain stakeholders aligned with these concerns. Customers, business partners, and potential employees want to share the same values as you.

However, it is essential to understand that building a green brand image is not limited to statements of intent or advertising campaigns. Authenticity is key. Attempts at greenwashing, which involve presenting a deceptive ecological image, are usually quickly detected by an informed public, and this can be costly. A positive brand image based on authenticity and environmental responsibility is a valuable asset that can drive business growth while contributing to a more sustainable future.

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What Is an Eco-Friendly Event?

An eco-friendly event integrates sustainable development principles at every stage of its organization. Whether it's a virtual, hybrid, or in-person event, it should aim to reduce negative impacts on the environment and increase positive impacts on social and economic fronts. This translates into achieving goals such as local sourcing, community support, waste reduction, and greenhouse gas emission reduction.

In Quebec, a sustainable event can be defined using the Quebec standard for responsible event management (BNQ 9700-253). It consists of 56 requirements spread across 5 categories:

  1. Supplier selection
  2. Management of materials, energy sources, and water
  3. Waste management
  4. Food selection
  5. Transportation means selection

How to Reduce Your Event Environmental Footprint

Several factors influence the environmental footprint of your events, but transportation remains the most significant factor. Depending on the type of event, travel can account for up to 75% of its total carbon footprint. Frequent travel for meetings and events generates large amounts of greenhouse gases. By opting for more eco-friendly corporate communication options, such as virtual events, you can reduce these emissions and contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change.

For more tips, check out the article "Strategies to Reduce the Environmental Footprint of an Event".

Consult the guide

In summary, go beyond the simple definition of an environmental footprint. Caring about the environmental impact of your communications, meetings, and events is not only a matter of responsibility to the planet but also a smart economic strategy. It is an essential element of the transition to a sustainable lifestyle and business. No worries, Digicast can help you improve your company's environmental footprint!

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