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Tips for organising Sustainable Events

14 Jan 20222m read

Sustainable Events

The increasing concern for the environment and climate change has driven for organisations and planners to pay close attention at ensuring their events are a lot eco-friendlier, hosting them in sustainable venues and opting for ecologically sound alternatives. Sustainable events are now being organised to have a reduced carbon footprint, and the need for green conferences seems to be growing.

For event professionals, creating sustainable events can be a challenge at times. When the aim is to offer an effective, personalised attendee experience whilst ensuring the occasion meets your sustainability targets, many compromises need to be made. Since your carbon footprint is affected by all the major aspects of your conference, such as travel, food and beverage, venue, and accommodation, what can be done to create business-driven sustainable events

Choosing your Sustainable Venues

With clients increasingly looking to host green events, it has become more important than ever to select appropriate sustainable venues. Green conference venues should be able to show they have invested in sustainability. This helps organisers measure the impact of their event, minimise wastage, and reduce carbon emissions. For example, sustainable venues could have a strong onsite waste management system, in-house recycling programme, portable composting toilets, energy efficient systems and more.

Other factors you should consider when selecting your sustainable venues:

  • Centrally located for easy access via public transport.
  • Sufficient communal and meeting space, to avoid the commute between accommodation and the session location.
  • Technologically advanced with electronic signage and automated energy-saving installations.

Say NO to plastic

Another key environmental issue is the use of non-recyclable materials. Most disposable plastics are difficult to recycle and a nightmare to deal with for waste management providers.


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To address this issue sustainable events organisations have made a few changes:

  • Stopping the use of single-use plastics.
  • Replacing plastic spoons and straws with paper, bamboo-based or even compostable plant-based straws. The best alternative, go straw-free and drink straight from the cup!
  • Installing water stations with reusable cups.


Transportation is one of the major areas that can impact the sustainability of your event. If most of your attendees are using private vehicles to travel to the venue, the carbon footprint will end up being significantly higher than you expected. You can encourage attendees to take public transport or cycle to their sustainable venues, significantly decreasing the conferences overall carbon footprint.

A few other steps you should take include:

  • Provide shuttle services to the accommodation and event venue.
  • Encourage attendees to carpool.
  • Use electric, hydrogen and hybrid cars for your official transport



Food wastage plays an enormous part in affecting sustainability. Food wasted in enormous amounts is sent to landfills, which releases greenhouse gasses like methane and is a direct cause of global warming.

To avoid wasting food here is what you can do:

  • Plan the menu according to the number of attendees estimated to attend. This is quite convenient for hosted events held at sustainable venues.
  • Work in partnership with local food vendors known for sustainability practices. In case you fall short, you can always make emergency arrangements.
  • Use buffet service styles that will increase attendee satisfaction while limiting food wastage.

The other half of huge wastage comes from plastic tableware. Go for a strict no to anything plastic rule – there will be no chances for unmanageable rubbish! For catering, use china tableware or metal utensils that can be easily washed and reused.

Other ways to avoid unnecessary rubbish:

  • Ensure any packaging the food arrives in is recyclable.
  • Encourage attendees to refill water bottles through drinking water stations.
  • Use compostable items and reusable tableware for take-away options.
  • Avoid using single sachets of sugar, salt, or coffee.

If using china and other tableware is not possible, consider going for biodegradable alternatives. There are numerous options with a low carbon impact. You can also opt for biodegradable plastics, which are made from renewable raw materials such as starch, orange peels, corn oil and plants. These plastics break down easily by naturally occurring bacteria, therefore decomposing quickly, and benefiting the environment

Be Environmentally Conscious

Free promotional merchandise at events can also be a part of your sustainable events. We recommend promoting eco-friendly gifts that can speak to the environmentally conscious side of the attendees.

Some options to consider:

  • Eco-friendly/recycled notebooks and journals.
  • Plants and seed packets.
  • Reusable tote bags.
  • Bamboo cutlery kits.
  • Eco-friendly USBs
  • Recycled mugs.


Whether they are sustainable events or not, events produce a large amount of waste, and the least you can do is segregate the waste properly for recycling. An easier way to achieve this is by having a waste management program that follows the principle of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’.


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To achieve this easier, you could:

  • Strategically place recycling bins that are correctly labelled, or colour coded.
  • Have someone to regularly collect, empty and sort the waste that tends to pile up quickly.
  • Limit the use of brochures and leaflets that an exhibitor might want to distribute at the event.
  • Connect with a local food bank or shelter so leftover food doesn’t go to waste

Only paper-less for sustainable events

One of the most recommended alternatives to brochures and leaflets is to use event management software’s. It will allow you to digitalise various aspects of the conference, eliminating the use of paper and allowing for the event to run in a more efficient manner.

Ways of using an event management software for sustainable events:

  • Use webinars and mobile event apps to streamline the flow of the meeting information without any delay or cost.
  • Create an event website to provide any useful information and updates, highlighting speakers and session details.
  • Send attendees personalised follow up emails and online surveys.

If you’re planning for you next event, it’s most important to set the standards early on. You have the most power to make sustainability a priority in the pre-planning stages, so outline your sustainable goals early on.

If you’re proactive in the early stages of planning, you have a better chance of getting potential partners on board with your sustainability goals. From choosing a more eco-friendly and accessible location to checking with your region’s waste and recycling partners, factoring the environmental effects into every step of the planning process will ultimately reduce your carbo footprint and you’ll have success in sustainable events.

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