Now more than ever, sustainability is a key focus when it comes to organising events and it’s certainly here to stay. And yet it might seem that events can’t be sustainable, cost-effective and pack a punch at the same time, right? Wrong.

Here are five effective ways in which you can provide high-impact experiences that are low-impact on the environment.

1. Create a sustainability policy

If you don’t already have a sustainability policy, we’d advise compiling this to ensure you’re able to define clear objectives and that your events are measurable.

This should include a statement of purpose, the values of your organisation that relate to sustainability outcomes, goals and targets, and a commitment to continual improvement – this means regular reviews and updates that reflect the ever-changing options when it comes to event sustainability, and how you plan to achieve more.

If you already have a sustainability policy, does it still deliver on your commitment of ‘going green’?

2. Choose your event partners wisely

Your event partners should echo your standards and policies when it comes to sustainability and setting out clear criteria when working with them will ensure everything aligns from the get-go.

We advise going one-step further and partnering with companies just like us, that are ISO 20121:2012 certified. This guarantees an event sustainability management system for any type of event or event-related activity and provides guidance on conforming to those requirements.

ISO 20121:2012 has been designed to address the management of improved sustainability throughout the entire event management cycle.

3. Work with a sustainable event venue

Perhaps one of the easiest ways in creating a sustainable event is selecting a sustainable event venue for face-to-face events or a virtual broadcast studio, if you’re choosing a hybrid or virtual format, because many elements will be taken care of for you such as green energy, and technology, through to catering and food waste. Again, look for the international sustainability certification such as ISO 20121, to give you confidence.

There are also many specialist venues which have a solid focus on sustainability across water and power for example, that will offset your event carbon emissions even further.

Some questions to think about might include their use of renewable energy, single-use plastic policy, water and rubbish recycling provision, food wastage programmes, controlled power and air conditioning capabilities, use of accredited green power or energy-efficient LED bulbs for lighting – and most importantly, do they have at least one official sustainability certification?

4. Embrace digital. You won’t regret it

Adapting your event strategy for the digital world can be daunting, not least because it’s ever-changing, and if the global Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that virtual and hybrid event experiences have a rightful place across our event strategies, and that rich digital content is more important than ever.

Not surprisingly, since March 2020, we’ve seen the biggest increase to date across our online events. We’ve supported clients throughout their transition to hybrid and back to delivering face-to-face events. This has allowed them to reap the benefits and learnings of virtual events and to create an effective event and communcations strategy, which fuses all three event formats to support their sustainability policy.

The beauty of going digital is that absolutely everything can be tracked, and we can support you to shape your attendees’ digital journey through use of digital event invites, e-comms and social media, registration forms and digital swag, through to your event content, video, animations, presentations and more.

Not only do we offer virtual platforms such as Swapcard, but we also provide custom-made websites, registration pages, and event apps which can relay everything from your agenda and speaker bios, through to your live-stream, Q&A, feedback and downloads – every click, view, interaction and the dwell-time can be captured – this gives you an unrivalled insight into your audience’s behaviours.

The possibilities for your face-to-face, hybrid and virtual events are endless – and more importantly, sustainable.

5. Opt for sustainable technology

As ISO points out – every action counts, from relying on tap water instead of plastic bottles, to encouraging use of public transport. As an event partner, it’s our mission and responsibility to continuously create environmentally friendly event solutions, providing you with sustainable options and ideas, which can include:

LED walls over projection. LED Walls consume about half the power of projection. They are also easier to maintain and require significantly less frequent servicing and repairs, not to mention the LED screens have an overwhelming advantage when it comes to brightness and contrast for your content and messaging, and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor events, at any time of the day.

LED lighting. Opt for LED lighting to create versatile environments and effects, whilst ticking the box for green credentials without negatively impacting the environment. It’s a no brainer. 

Live streaming. Live streaming an event allows you to reach and interact with more people across the world, saving travel time and cost. Most businesses are opting for a hybrid approach because for delegates who live further afield, this can be a simple step towards helping you reduce the environmental impact of your event, without compromising on the vital elements that make live face-to-face events so effective. It also opens your event and content up to new audiences and opportunities.

Green screen. Our green screen studios and mobile solutions can be utilised across multiple shoots, remaining consistent and effective because they reduce location fees, logistic costs and environmental impacts of these productions. The only limit to a green screen is imagination.

Digital signage vs print – the question is which is the right fit for your environment? The digital signage our creative studio designs allows for dynamic, constantly changing content if desired, attracting attention through bright display, engaging animations, and interactive elements. Paper production destroys trees, and the disposal of paper products results in unwanted CO2 emissions. Why not consider a combination of digital and print, and opt for one of our sustainable print partners?

The bottom line…

Sustainability is becoming more and more important in every aspect of our lives. Following these simple steps can set you up on the path to success of planning a sustainable and eco-friendly event.