Event Sustainability: 6 Most Easy & Effective Practices To Use in 2023
Mar 29, 2023 1:00:00 PM
As the world becomes more aware of the impact of its actions on the planet, businesses globally strive to be more sustainable and environment-friendly. Audiences today prioritize environmental impact when choosing brands they want to support. Hence, sustainable events have been growing in popularity across the globe.
While 90% of business executives say sustainability is essential, only 60% of companies have a developed sustainability strategy.
Read on for sustainable event ideas and insights on developing an event sustainability strategy to reduce environmental impact, save cost, improve brand reputation, and have a positive social impact.
Hosting in-person events incur an enormous carbon cost. Local and regional travel is by far the largest contributing factor, especially when traveling by air. Other factors with a significant carbon footprint in events include
Here are some ways to help event organizers and planners efficiently minimize their environmental impact and implement event sustainability.
It is essential to identify, measure, and minimize the environmental impact at every stage of the event’s life cycle. Consider the following elements-
A 2023 research found that over 97% of media marketers consider in-person events to be crucial.
Thus, the responsibility of finding accredited venues that adhere to sustainability concepts has fallen on the event planners’ shoulders.
Unquestionably, in-person event venues are the biggest consumers of resources, be it energy, food, or water. Hence, you must take time to research venues that implement sustainability concepts like
If the venue is in a conducive and cost-optimum geographic location but doesn’t have accreditation, you can explicitly include precise sustainability requirements in your RFPs and contracts and even send them in advance for better negotiations.
Roughly 5 trillion plastic bags are produced annually worldwide, and a single bag can take nearly 1000 years to disintegrate completely. In 2021, over 51m tons of plastic waste (especially wrappers, bottles, and bags) was generated in America, of which only 5% was recycled, while the remaining 95% ended up in landfills and oceans!
In-person events have long been bashed by environmentalists worldwide for being large producers of plastic waste, be it plastic utensils, Styrofoam cups, or even drinking straws. To prevent this at your future events, you can
Besides reducing ecological impact, such practices will also help reduce the cost of future events by preventing repeat purchases. Additionally, you can share recycling success stories on your event website to inform and encourage visitors to adopt event sustainability practices.
As per the UN, over 17% of the world’s total food production gets wasted. When piled up in landfills, this enormous waste leads to greenhouse gas production. To prevent food waste at your events, you can
Key chains, pens, bottles, t-shirts, and other standard promotional merchandise given in event swag bags often end up in landfills. Consider replacing these with eco-friendly options to reduce your event’s carbon footprint. Some interesting ideas include
If you want to give out branded clothing, consider procuring from companies that sustainably and ethically source items rather than choosing fast fashion. Also, check if they print using environment-friendly inks.
Recent statistics indicate that nearly 23% of all event swag ends up in landfills worsening the environmental impact of in-person events. Thus, it is a great strategy to arrive at a realistic number of swag bags that would be given away in accordance to the number of participants to avoid wasting the unused swag bags.
Nobody wants to hold on to a paper ticket or find a way to print it out to attend an event. It is best to leverage e-tickets with QR codes that are easy to scan. It is one of the easiest and most impactful steps towards successfully implementing event sustainability as it reduces the amount of paper waste at the event.
Reduce the number of leaflets or brochures exhibitors might want to distribute at your event. Consider levying an additional waste management charge or ‘green charge’ in the contract agreement. Contactless check-ins, digital notepads, white screens, and electronic signages instead of vinyl banners can also significantly minimize unnecessary paper waste.
With 6Connex’s mobile event apps like Eventory Check-in you can seamlessly manage attendee check-ins (on and off-site) and their registration info with QR scanning.
Furthermore, through the Eventory event management platform, you can take advantage of an intuitive, fully-integrated, quick, and easy-to-use ticketing and registration system, which allows you to manage your event’s ticketing, coupons, orders, and discounts, all from one dashboard! It can also help you digitize your promotion and campaign functionalities before, during, and after the event.
A 2021 American study found that transitioning from in-person to virtual events can help reduce carbon footprint by over 94% and energy consumption by 90%, and that’s a lot of footprints! Statistics further indicate that organizing a one-day international conference with 5000+ virtual attendees can reduce the event’s carbon emissions equivalent to the annual emissions of over 158 American households.
Instill carbon-friendly practices: While virtual events are incredibly sustainable, internet usage and the uploading and downloading of data (streaming, video calls, etc.) can still emit some greenhouse gases. You can shrink your event’s environmental impact further by instilling the following carbon-friendly practices:
Moreover, in case of a large-scale international event, consider having regional hubs rather than bringing in people from all over to one location. It can largely reduce the carbon emissions caused by air travel while allowing the benefits from in-person participation.
ELLEgirl Japan needed a virtual environment technology to host engaging events, attract a broad audience, capture and report user behaviors, and streamline event-related operations. Although they considered Zoom, YouTube, and Instagram LIVE, these platforms lacked the features and functionality to encourage interactivity and provide a centralized solution for marketing, managing, and reporting on events.
Eventory by 6Connex helped ELLEgirl Japan create engaging, ongoing events that transformed attendees' perceptions through memorable connections and experiences. Eventory provided the ELLEgirl team with robust virtual environment technology to facilitate engagement with content and interactions between attendees while seamlessly capturing and reporting user behaviors.
Read the full case study here.
With virtual event platforms like 6Connex, you can seamlessly plan and host a sustainable event while reducing costs and driving event ROI. They also offer mobile event apps that facilitate features like-
Such features not only enhance the event experience but also promote event sustainability.
If going fully virtual is not viable for your event, hybrid events are the next best thing. As per research conducted by the University of Cambridge, hybrid events can reduce carbon emissions by over 90%, especially if the attendees from far away join the event online and the ones attending in-person travel by land. Request your free virtual event platform demo today to learn more about how you can improve your event sustainability and how 6Connex can assist you with the process.
Join us on June 27th at 10 a.m. CST for our webinar "Raising the Bar: Achieving Sustainable Events through Innovative Technologies and Expert Insights." co-hosted with MUSE. Learn from event sustainability gurus as they share tips on reducing carbon footprints and creating events that make Mother Nature proud. Don't miss out on this industry leading, eco-friendly event! Register below.
To measure where your business stands in terms of its event sustainability goals, consider the following key questions:
When planning a sustainable event, you must have essential KPIs in place to measure the progress of your sustainability events and track any potential for future improvements. Some key KPIs to track include
Using carbon footprint calculators is a standard way for businesses to measure and report the environmental impacts their events are having. Some of the most widely-used carbon calculators include-
Besides these tools, you can also use Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards to measure sustainability issues. ISO 20121 is a standard that offers a framework to identify and address sustainability issues.
Sustainability events can include seminars, trade shows, conferences, etc. They can have an eco-friendly approach and offer free bike parking and shuttle service to reduce the number of car commuters and their CO2 emissions, serve foods and drinks in biodegradable containers that won’t pile up in landfills, and more.
Sustainability events help reduce negative environmental and social impact, represent cost and resource efficiency, inspire innovative and creative use of resources, and help create links between the organization, community, and the environment. They enable brands and companies to spread awareness about environmental protection and social growth while generating a better image of themselves.