The increase in sustainable event production over recent years has marked a noted change in the industry. It goes hand in hand with the increased awareness of climate change and the demand for change to happen.
In this era of increased public consciousness of the impact we are having on the environment around us, the need for sustainability considerations has become a vital part in event planning across a variety of industries all across the UK and beyond.
From intimate fundraisers and corporate get-togethers, to the largest of conferences and music festivals, the core principles of sustainable event productions stay more or less the same — they can be scaled up or down depending on the size and scale of your event.
Putting on events that consider their impact on the planet is no mere flash in the pan — it’s an important part of our future and of our present. It’s vital that you understand what sustainable event production means, why it is important, and what it entails, if you intend to remain up-to-date with exactly what is expected of you.
What is a Sustainable Event?
Sustainable event production refers to the act of planning, organising, and executing an event of any kind in a manner that minimises its negative environmental, social, and economic impact. It also looks to promote more positive relationships with the wider world surrounding the event, the people, the environment, etc.
Virtually any form of live event can be planned with an eye on sustainability, including:
- Corporate events
- Music festivals
- Awards ceremonies
The primary principle of sustainable event production lies in carefully considering the resources needed and integrating environmentally friendly practices wherever possible throughout the event. Sustainability can be a key consideration from initial conceptualisation right through to the day of the event and beyond.
The Importance of Sustainable Event Production
There are a number of noteworthy reasons why sustainable event production is so important. These range from making a legitimate effort to improve the environment around you and boosting your brand’s public image, to complying with regulations and cutting costs.
Sustainable event production is vital for a number of compelling reasons, including:
- Minimise Environmental Impact: High-profile corporate events can have a damaging impact on the surrounding environments. Sustainable event production will help limit this impact as much as possible.
- Mitigate Climate Change: It is estimated that the events industry could be responsible for as much as 10% of global greenhouse gases. Sustainable practices can limit your event’s carbon footprint.
- More Inclusivity: Another aspect sustainable events will consider is how inclusive and progressive they are. Be the change you want to see in the world and work to accommodate as many people as you can at your event.
- Act as Educators: A well-planned sustainable event can act as a platform for raising awareness about environmental and social issues. Therefore, it’s an opportunity to educate and inform attendees and participants alike.
- Comply with Regulations: Environmental regulations are becoming more prominent over time. Integrating sustainable measures can help you to comply without any issues.
- Better Brand Image: Producing an environmentally friendly event can have a positive impact on the reputation and brand image of your organisation.
- Save Costs: Despite often increased upfront costs, some sustainable practices can actually help you to cut costs in the long run.
- Attract More Attendees: As time goes by, the market for environmentally friendly causes and businesses is steadily increasing. Attracting these people to your event could help further boost numbers.
- Encourage Sponsors: Some corporate sponsors will be more drawn to events with a focus on encouraging environmental practices. Commiting to this end could see more money coming in as a result.
How to Plan a Sustainable Event
Sustainable event production requires a well-defined strategy to be implemented as early as possible in order to be successful. Things you should consider are setting targets that will help you keep your event on track, what venue you’ll be operating out of, and perhaps most importantly, how will the waste at your event be managed?
A few expert tips when it comes to planning a sustainable event include:
1 – Set Clear Objectives
In order for any event to be planned and delivered successfully, not just one with the environment in mind, it is vital that you consider what your targets are.
Determining exactly what sustainability practices you are targeting will allow you to better streamline your process and ensure that everybody is pulling in the same direction.
2 – Select an Appropriate Venue
You can design the most environmentally-friendly event possible in practice, but if you haven’t considered the sustainability impact of your chosen venue, then all of your hard work can quickly be undone.
You should try to prioritise venues with prominent sustainability features, including:
- Energy efficient lighting
- Renewable energy sources wherever possible
- Practices in place to limit water waste
If you’re simplifying the process by using an experienced events company, finding the right location can be made much easier.
3 – Conduct an Assessment
Before the bulk of the planning and organisation can take place, you should consider conducting an in-depth sustainability assessment.
The purpose of the assessment is to evaluate the potential environmental and social impact of your event. It is at this stage that you should highlight any area for improvement if you have delivered a similar event in the past.
4 – Develop a Sustainability Plan
In addition to your assessment, you should also create an in-depth plan outlining the sustainability practices and initiatives you aim to put in place.
This can include considerations like the number of water refill points on site, set recycling points, etc. Even if you conducted the same event, in the exact same place, with the same team, you should still tailor the sustainability plan to your specific occasion, as no two gatherings are ever the same.
5 – Implement a Comprehensive Waste Management System
One of the most important aspects of sustainable event production. Poor waste management can worsen the environmental impact of an event. If you have spent years working to perfect every aspect of your event and ensure peak sustainability measures are in place, but all the ‘rubbish’ goes to landfill, then all of your hard work might have been wasted.
You should consider a comprehensive waste management system as being a critical component when attempting to organise a sustainability event. By putting measures in place to efficiently manage waste (recycling, composting, etc.) you can significantly lower your footprint. This is because not only are you minimising strain on landfills and preventing the resulting pollution, but you are encouraging the reuse of materials.
Additionally, the more events implement strong waste management systems, the more normalised it becomes. The more normal recycling/composting is, the more educated people will be. And the more educated people are, the more likely they are to follow suit.
6 – Consider Transportation Options
You should attempt to encourage event attendees to utilise transportation options in line with your green vision. You can do this by providing easy to access information about options such as:
- Public Transportation
- Bike Routes
7 – Opt for Energy Efficient Options
If your event requires lighting, to align with your vision you should opt for energy-efficient lighting solutions where possible. This includes LED or fluorescent lighting.
You should also seriously consider renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, wind turbines, or even water wheels, to power the event. If you are in the right location and have the right equipment, you could almost entirely power your event using sustainable sources.
8 – Consider Catering Carefully
Not all events require catering. However, if yours does, you should aim to contact an event company that can arrange locally-sourced, organic, and sustainably produced foodstuffs.
You should also enquire about the firm’s principles with regards to single use plastics. A green event with single use plastic cups, containers, and cutlery won’t be a great look, and might even undermine any goodwill you earn.
9 – Offset Carbon Emissions
Something that can be difficult to do for a smaller event. But if you have the necessary financial backing, you could attempt to calculate the estimated carbon footprint of your event and offset these emissions.
You can do this to counterbalance any environmental impact your event does happen to have. The most common method of offsetting carbon emissions is investing in reforestation initiatives.
10 – Raise Awareness
One of the primary reasons to organise a sustainable event is to educate people. To do this, you should make an attempt to inform event attendees about all of the sustainability initiatives you have put in place.
You can also provide tips on the ways in which attendees can do their part and educate them on the significance of their contribution.
One of the most eager audiences to learn about sustainability practices is often children. Younger generations are often highly engaged in these discussions, so consider catering talks and activities to any kids present at your event.
11 – Evaluate Event After the Fact
Particularly relevant if you have ambitions to stage similar events in the future. After the successful execution of an event, you should analyse and assess all data with regards to energy consumption, waste management, and any other relevant metrics. It can also be really useful to gather as much attendee feedback as possible.
This is vital to identifying areas of success, and to highlight improvements you can make to refine your sustainable event production in the future.
Sustainable Event Production Support You Can Rely On
Anybody looking into sustainable event production deserves credit as it’s often easier to put on something with only minimal green considerations. Environmental and social needs will more often than not be both time-consuming, difficult to plan, and can add to the usual event costs.
However, having assistance that you know you can rely on can be a blessing. ConnectIn Events have a proven track record of supporting people and businesses put on sustainable events of all shapes and sizes.
We are on hand and perfectly placed to assist you. No matter where you’re based or what your budget is, we’re here to help. We can guide you through every aspect of an event from start to finish, and even offer a complementary venue-finding service which promises to pair you with a location that perfectly aligns with the needs and values of your event.
For a personal touch that pledges to keep you in the loop at all times, you’re in the right place. Our mission is to take the stress out of the process for you. So if you’re planning a live, corporate, or any other type of event, contact us today to find out more about how we can help you.