Green events are well and truly buzzing right now. All across London, elsewhere in the country, and in the wider world as a whole, green events are taking off big time, and green issues have become a major talking point in the industry. Whether we’re discussing climate change, the importance of recycling and reusing materials, or our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and offer events which are kinder to the environment, there’s little doubt about the significance of eco-conscious event management, and how it is changing the industry.
The great thing about green events (aside from the planet-saving qualities they involve) is that it actually they aren’t that hard to get involved in. Making your event more environmentally friendly simply means being more mindful about the way you organise your launch, reception, conference etc, and ensuring that you’re considering your green credentials every step of the way.
What’s more, green events have another huge bonus: environmentally-aware gatherings are highly sellable to the public. Indeed, as the event-going populous becomes ever more woke to environmental friendliness, the demand for events companies to demonstrate their commitment to the environment grows ever larger.
Here at Ultimate Experience, we’ve kept a close and appreciative eye on this particular trend. We’re proud to champion green events across the capital, and would love for more events managers to follow suit. As such, we’ve put together this brief guide to this growing trend, alongside some key ideas to implementing green concepts for your next event.
What is a Green Event?
Simply put, a green event is one which has made proven efforts to ensure the event has a lower environmental impact, and has taken steps in order to reduce waste, reduce its carbon footprint, and generally have a mindful approach to ecological issues. There are dozens of ways in which this can be achieved, each as important and impactive as the last.
Why has it become a trend?
In our ever-changing world, organising green events has become increasingly important. The events industry has long since prided itself on being ahead of the curve when it comes to social change and awareness, and putting environmental issues first and foremost has become a powerful trend recently.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise - there’s increasing pressure on trendsetters, social mavens, and influential companies to put their money where their mouth is regarding eco issues, and the events industry has stepped up to the mark in a impressive fashion.
As for why this has become such a key trend, one only has to turn on the news, or indeed look outside our windows to get an idea as to the importance of environmental issues.
Especially in London, where pollution levels recently hit an all-time high, green events have to show the public in general that they’re ready to lead the pack when it comes to making positive changes both small and large, and demonstrating a commitment to eco-friendly approaches to the industry.
Indeed, as the below graph shows, the demand for locally-produced green solutions (such as renewable energy use) in all aspects of the commercial and business world is skyrocketing beyond expectations. As such there’s no reason for the events industry to lag behind!
What is the goal of a green event?
Green events have plenty of goals, and these partly depend on the nature of the event itself. However, the key ones are as follows:
Reducing waste. Events have, historically, been pretty wasteful with resources. Plastic plates, cups, and cutlery are common culprits, as are the vast reams of paper used for conference packs which, in a digital age, are looking more than a little redundant.
Cutting energy usage. How many times have you been to a conference, and have seen every light in the building permanently switched on? The same can be said for unnecessary screens being used when they don’t need to be, the excessive use of heating and air conditioning… the list goes on and on!
Reducing food waste. This one goes without saying, really. Every event needs to ensure their guests are properly fed, but some simple calculations could ensure far less wastage in this regard.
Selecting ‘green’ venues. This one is perhaps a little harder to implement, but events organisers could definitely be more savvy in choosing events spaces which share their commitment to reducing the event’s carbon footprint.
Encouraging public transport. Easier in London than elsewhere in the country, perhaps, but encouraging public transport and car sharing can make a real difference.
Making your event green
Now that we’ve established why making your event greener is so important, and that by doing so you could attract a greater, more savvy audience, it’s time to consider some actionable steps to make this happen.
1. Choosing the proper venue
Your choice of venue says a lot about you as an events manager, and gives your attendees a clear idea of the values of the event itself. Want to greenify your event? Consider the following points when choosing a venue.
Does the venue share your green credentials?
Believe us, if an events venue is committed to making a positive environmental change, the chances are, they’ll be shouting about it from the rooftops, and plastering it all over their site and promotional material. If not, be sure to ask the venue’s team about their green policies, and if they don’t have one, let them know you’ll be looking elsewhere for a more eco-conscious events space.
Consider temporary constructions
Temporary events spaces which can be constructed for your event, and then packed away again without leaving a trace are often a good bet for ensuring an environmentally friendly event.
If your chosen events venue can only be accessed by car, this is a pretty clear sign to your attendees that green issues aren’t high on your list of priorities. Public transport is always preferable, and you should clearly point out bus and metro routes on your invite to encourage the use of these more sustainable options.
There’s pretty much no excuse nowadays for major events spaces to not be using renewable and sustainable energy sources for at least some of their energy demands. Solar panels are affordable, plentiful, and more efficient than ever before… and attendees definitely pick up on such details when visiting your event!
Food and drinks are a key component to any event, and often end up being the star of the show and the aspect most shared on social media. Bring a green angle to your catering, and you’ve got a clear selling point that will be lapped up by the event-going public.
Use local suppliers
‘Local’ now sits side by side with ‘organic’ and ‘sustainable’ as a powerful buzzword when it comes to green issues. Local ingredients and dishes are prized for their authenticity, ethical value, and reduced carbon footprint, and will be hugely popular with your attendees.
Nobody wants a side order of pesticides and chemical nasties in their event food. Make sure you can offer your guests a commitment to delicious, organic fare - you’ll be rewarded in greater ticket sales and enthusiasm for your efforts.
Dietary requirements awareness
Not so much a green issue, but an important one nonetheless. Veganism is on the rise, and awareness of intolerances and allergies is hugely important for any events organiser.
3. Energy and Water Consumption
If you’re hiring an events space, there’s not necessarily much you can do about water and energy consumption (apart from select venues which are committed to cutting their energy usage etc). However, if the event is happening in your own venue, try and make sure of the following:
Leaks are fixed
Water wastage is a huge green issue. Not only that, but even small leaks can be structurally damaging, so make sure you get your space checked out!
Reduce energy waste
Just by changing your lighting systems to high efficiency systems like LED lights, you can slash your energy usage by a dramatic amount. Adequate insulation helps reduce heat waste, as does decent double glazing. Not only will you be helping the environment, you’ll be cutting your bills considerably, too!
Installing energy efficient appliances
Energy efficient appliances are more affordable and effective than ever before. If you aren’t using them, you’re throwing money and energy down the drain.
4. Materials and Waste
When organising a green event, never fail to remember the three R’s of ecology: reduce, reuse, and recycle. It’s the easiest way to ensure your green credentials are intact, and it is something today’s events audiences expect and demand from the events they visit.
Reducing paper waste
It’s incredible how much paper even small corporate events use. In today’s digital world, where most of your attendees will come with a smartphone or iPad, there are plenty of paper-free alternatives to consider. If you really can’t do without paper, make a commitment to using recycled materials when you can.
Recycling bins at the ready!
The public are more than accustomed to sorting their waste in their own homes, so don’t hesitate to have recycling bins for different materials (paper, plastics, cans etc) dotted around your events space.
Eco-conscious promotional materials
Handing out flyers or posters for your event? You can demonstrate your environmental awareness from the first moment by using biodegradable and recycled materials for all your promotional materials.
5. Eco-Friendly Decor
No event would be complete without some beautiful decorations and thematic decor. However, you can still go all-out with your design features without having an impact on the environment - here’s a few ideas how to achieve exactly that.
Use local, seasonal flowers
There’s nothing eco-friendly about flying in flowers from halfway around the world, especially when we grow plenty of organic, beautiful blooms right here in the UK.
Use reusable decor elements
So many props and decorative features of top events simply get thrown away once the big day’s all over and done with. This is an appalling waste of materials, and there’s no real excuse for it at all. Try when you can to reuse, recycle, and upcycle materials for your events, and reduce that waste as much as possible.
Use eco-friendly materials for your decorations
Instead of relying on plastics and other non-biodegradable materials for your decorations, do all you can to include more environmentally friendly options whenever possible. Bamboo and bamboo fibre, cork, hemp, organic cotton, recycled glass, recycled polyester, cardboard, and low VOC paints would all count as eco-friendly materials… so keep this in mind, and be sure to let your attendees know these are your materials of choice for your event. See more great ideas for green decor here.
6. Spread the message to vendors and exhibitors
It’s no good you going to great lengths to prove your environmentally friendly and low carbon footprint approach to your event, if your vendors and exhibitors are on a completely different page. When booking said vendors and exhibitors, be sure to let them know you are running a green event, and send them a list of your hopes and expectations to get them onside. Each and every person at your event is responsible for maintaining your green credo, and it often doesn’t take much more than a friendly reminder to ensure nobody misses this important memo.
Green Events: A Trend We Can All Get Behind
As we’ve discussed, there are so many simple ways to boost your next event’s green credentials. It’s a great way to spread awareness of key issues affecting us all today, it’s ideal for promoting your event to an increasingly savvy audience, and it’s vital for the evolution of our industry and the health of our environment.
At Ultimate Experience, we take great pride in our environmentally friendly approaches, and love helping our clients achieve their green event goals. Want to find out more? Don’t hesitate to get in touch!