Corporate events are important mediums to share knowledge, to network, and to collaborate. However, the environmental impact of such events can be significant, with large amounts of waste generated, excessive energy consumed, and carbon emissions created from transportation and accommodations.
As awareness about the need to protect the environment and promote sustainability grows, it’s crucial for businesses to prioritize sustainability and adopt eco-friendly practices when planning and hosting corporate events. In this article, we will explore how a corporate event can be made more sustainable and earth-friendly, with practical tips and ideas to make a positive impact.
Choose a sustainable venue
The choice of venue is a crucial decision when planning a sustainable corporate event. Look for venues that have implemented sustainable practices such as using renewable energy, having efficient waste management systems, and reducing water usage.
Also, consider the venue’s proximity to public transportation to encourage attendees to use eco-friendly transportation options. If possible, choose a venue that has earned certifications such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) which signifies the venue’s commitment to sustainability.
Events can generate a significant amount of waste, including food waste, single-use plastics, and promotional materials. To minimize waste, consider the following steps:
- Use digital communication and registration methods to reduce the need for printed materials.
- Provide reusable or biodegradable alternatives to single-use items such as plates, cups, and cutlery.
- Set up clearly labeled recycling and composting stations throughout the event venue to encourage proper waste disposal.
Serve sustainable food and beverages
Food and beverage choices can have a significant impact on the sustainability of a corporate event. Consider the following practices:
- Choose locally sourced, organic, and seasonal food options to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation and support local farmers.
- Minimize food waste by accurately estimating the number of attendees and their dietary preferences and avoiding excessive food portions.
- Send out reminders to those that have registered to ensure that if there are cancellations event staff are notified prior to head counts being due.
- Use water refill stations with refillable cups to limit the use of plastic bottles.
- Use reusable or compostable utensils and plates instead of single-use plastics.
Opt for sustainable transportation
Transportation is a major contributor to carbon emissions in corporate events. Encourage sustainable transportation options for attendees, such as public transportation, carpooling, or biking. If feasible, choose a venue that is easily accessible by public transportation and provide information about sustainable transportation options in event communications.
Additionally, offset the carbon footprint of the event by investing in carbon offset projects or donating to environmental organizations.
Use sustainable event technology
The use of technology can greatly enhance the sustainability of corporate events. Consider the following practices:
- Use digital event registration, ticketing, and check-in processes to reduce paper usage.
- Utilize event management software or apps to streamline communication, registration, and other event logistics.
- Set up virtual meetings or webinar options for remote attendees to reduce the need for travel.
- Encourage speakers and presenters to use electronic presentations and handouts instead of printed materials.
Incorporate sustainability into event programming
Make sustainability a central theme in the event programming to raise awareness and promote eco-friendly practices among attendees.
Consider including information in your electronic materials about the sustainability efforts of the event’s logistics and information on how attendees can offset their carbon footprint by having information on the conference app or other materials.
Find ways where you can
Not every event will have content that will drive the sustainability discussion; however, sustainability can be incorporated into every event.
Work with your partners at the venue during the planning process to see what creative options are available to reduce waste, which at times can also help minimize overall costs. Options like offering water refill stations, and accurately recording event attendance will save money and Mother Earth.