Organizing an event while minimizing its impact on the environment is essential. Whether you're preparing for a conference, a trade show, or a corporate event, here are the best practices and tips to reduce your environmental footprint.
1. Choose an Environmentally Friendly Venue
Opt for conference centers and hotels with environmental certifications such as LEED. This ensures that these establishments have sustainable resource management and reduce energy and water consumption. You can benefit from their expertise.
2. Avoid Unnecessary Travel
Find a venue close to the target participants or easily accessible to the majority of them. By doing so, you reduce the event's environmental footprint by minimizing the number of kilometers to be traveled, whether by plane or car. You could also consider implementing eco-friendly shuttle services between the event locations and accommodations.
If necessary, consider making your event hybrid by offering a webcast version for people who are too far away or unable to attend in person. Virtual platforms become a means to reach a more diverse audience, including individuals who are ill, disabled, or more vulnerable. With webcasting, you simplify the experience for many often-overlooked individuals.
3. Promote Responsible Travel
There are numerous alternatives to solo car travel available. As an organizer, you can offer public transportation passes for the duration of the event or facilitate carpooling by providing a communication tool for participants interested.
In short, encourage participants to prioritize public transportation, carpooling, or non-polluting methods of transportation to get to the event. The impact on CO2 emissions, and therefore the event's environmental footprint, is significant.
4. Properly Manage Waste
Implementing recycling and composting measures is now essential. Selective sorting and recycling reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and promote a circular economy. You likely do this at home, so why not put it into practice at your events?
Furthermore, including an easily understandable visual system ensures that as many people as possible understand the process. Some establishments may already have such a system.
5. Reduce Waste Production
It's essential to manage waste properly but producing as little waste as possible is even better. A significant portion of the waste generated is related to food. Replace bottled water distribution with a mobile water fountain; use reusable or compostable cups; opt for reusable or compostable tableware; donate unconsumed food to food banks or community organizations, and so on.
The same applies to anything you provide to participants, such as documents, gifts, merchandise, promotional items, etc. Before making a decision, assess the relevance and impact of what you plan to offer to participants. Ask yourself, "Does my organization achieve a significant goal by offering this product?"
6. Focus on Awareness and Education
Informing participants, partners, and service providers about sustainable practices and encouraging them to adopt environmentally friendly behaviors can have a positive impact on the event's environmental footprint. Just by implementing the strategies presented in this article, you send a message: the environment is important, and we need to act now.
7. Encourage Virtual Participation
Let's face it; all the previous advice is impactful, but there is a limit to what can be done in person. Virtual events are the simplest and most effective way to reduce the environmental footprint of an event.
By encouraging virtual participation and offering live webcasting options, you can consistently reduce the environmental footprint. The fact is that executing a virtual event eliminates the main sources of carbon dioxide and waste (transportation and catering). Moreover, it's easy and economically advantageous.