Go Beyond Ticking a Box: How to Reduce Your Event’s Carbon Footprint and Make It Memorable for Attendees

Posted on 25 August 2023

As the importance of sustainability continues to grow, event planners and organizers are seeking ways to make their events more eco-friendly and socially responsible. Attendees becoming increasingly conscious of environmental impact, so it’s essential to go beyond greenwashing and implement meaningful sustainability initiatives that truly make a difference. In this article, we will explore actionable steps to estimate and reduce your event’s carbon footprint, promoting local community support and reforestation projects while weaving the core theme of sustainability into your event.

How do I estimate my event’s carbon footprint?

To create a sustainable event, it’s crucial to understand the different components that contribute to your event’s carbon footprint. Considerations such as fuel consumption, electricity usage, travel arrangements, waste management, product sourcing, and food and drink choices all play a role. By analysing each aspect, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of your event’s environmental impact.

Once you know your event’s footprint, you can address the individual components to reduce and lower those emissions.

What should I do to reducing my event’s footprint?

Embracing eco-friendly practices is essential in reducing your event’s carbon footprint. Implement the following initiatives to make a meaningful impact:

  • Venue Choice: Choose eco-friendly venues with sustainable practices and certifications to align with your event’s green goals, such as energy and water efficiency ratings.
  • Promote Public Transport: Encourage attendees to use public transportation or carpool to reduce the environmental impact of individual travel.
  • Minimize Single-Use Plastics: Encourage catering to provide biodegradable options for plates and cutlery.
  • Proper Waste Management: Providing recycling and organic waste collection ensures your event produces minimal landfill, which results in less carbon emissions.
  • Opt for Local Food: Source food locally to support nearby communities and reduce the carbon emissions associated with long-distance transportation.
  • Accurate Catering: Sometimes, over-catering is a common result of events, so more accurately estimating the attendance you need to cater for can help reduce food wastage.
  • Donate Excess Food: Partner with local charities to donate leftover food, minimizing waste and supporting those in need.

How do I understand my event’s impact on the community?

While you’re able to understand and control the emissions of your event, it doesn’t take into account the footprint of your attendees, who commonly have to travel to the venue location and even stay in nearby accommodations. Even though this is a factor external to the event itself, it’s still worth asking attendees to complete surveys about their travel to understand the wider impact of an event.

What do I do to remove the event’s remaining carbon emissions?

Though making efforts to reduce emissions is a start in making your event greener, emissions are not likely to be completely reduced to zero. However, this will mean your event has less carbon to remove.

To address the remaining emissions, consider supporting local community projects and reforestation initiatives. By investing in sustainability beyond your event, you contribute to a positive impact on the environment and the community surrounding the event venue.

Can I make my green event more meaningful for attendees?

Ensuring that you’re running a climate-friendly event is one thing, but how do you turn it into something truly memorable for event attendees? Go beyond just ticking a box, and turn sustainability into a core theme of your event by emphasising green prizes and giveaways.

Exhibitors often give away promotional items for the sake of branding, and while some of this merchandise is considered reusable and “eco-friendly”, it’s often more stuff that people don’t necessarily need.

Instead, encourage more sustainable giveaways such as sustainably sourced consumables or local hand-crafted goods that are more meaningful. Using Reforest, events can plant trees in local restoration projects that attendees can claim.

Creating a sustainable event involves a comprehensive approach that goes beyond token gestures. By estimating your event’s carbon footprint and taking actionable steps to reduce it, you can make a real difference in the fight against climate change and promote corporate sustainability. Encourage attendees, exhibitors, and partners to join your efforts in making your event truly planet-friendly and socially responsible. Remember, transparency and genuine commitment to sustainability initiatives are key to demonstrating your event’s positive impact on the environment and the community.

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