Planning a corporate event can be time-consuming, even when you’re working with a professional event…
Sustainability is trending across every industry. Consumers want to partner with businesses that take a sustainable approach. Employees want to work for companies that remember the environment. Donors want to see the nonprofits they support are doing their part to be sustainable. Just turning off the lights or recycling paper isn’t going to cut the mustard.
Today’s corporations have to consider sustainability throughout every operation and decision, especially corporate events. Green events don’t happen without careful planning every step of the way. This blog post will help you make your next corporate event more sustainable!
Determine Your Sustainability Goals
If you’ve never thought about sustainability at events, it might be overwhelming at first. Consider your event and what effect it will have on the environment to focus on one or two areas where you can make the biggest impact, instead of making a sweeping change all at once. Then, work on the goals you chose.
Use apps, like MyClimate Event Carbon Calculator, to measure your impact on the environment through your event. This can help you find concrete ways to reduce your impact most effectively.
Choose Eco-Friendly Partners
Whether you’re working with an event planner or not, choose suppliers and vendors who have a sustainable approach. Look for local suppliers, which reduce emissions from transportation. Choose a venue that recycles, uses efficient appliances in bathrooms and kitchens, and encourages reduced paper and plastic waste.
A LEED-certified building that is focused on using LEDs and smart thermostats can also help you be more eco-conscious. You probably can’t put on your corporate event without help, so make sure your partners support your vision.
Reduce Your Transportation Requirements
Getting hundreds of people to an event puts a toll on the environment. Look for alternative transportation options that discourage each person from taking their own car. Hire a bus powered by fossil-free fuel or encourage people to ride-share. Choose a venue that has electric charging points and go local so that people aren’t flying to the event. Allow guests to join virtually or host the event completely online.
Don’t Use Paper and Plastic Items
Reduce paper and plastic use by renting linens, napkins, plates, silverware, and glasses. Every piece of paper or plastic used at your event could end up in a landfill, even though you try to recycle as much as possible. Modern dishwashers may use water, but they are designed to be extremely efficient with less strain on the environment.
Think about what you use to decorate. Instead of large bouquets of expensive flowers imported from around the world, go with local flora or use house plants that can be given as door prizes to take home. Don’t use balloons or plastic streamers. Find products that can be reused for another event, whether yours or someone else’s party.
Send digital invites with a “click here” button to RSVP to reduce paper use. Create an app or event site where guests can view information and access registration information.
Serve Local, Sustainable Menu Items
Serving local produce isn’t just good for the environment, it also tastes better and supports your neighbors. Choose locally sourced, seasonal produce that doesn’t have to be transported long distances to reduce your carbon footprint. To be even more sustainable, look for meat-free options for your event or choose options that are less meat-dependent.
Instead of serving prime rib as the entrée, choose an appetizer with a steak option and have a vegetable-heavy entrée, like a pasta or curry. Ask your caterer what happens to any food leftovers. Can they be donated to a food shelter instead of being thrown away?
Choose Fair Trade and Sustainable Goods
Hand out a welcome bag that can be reused as a grocery bag. Buy flowers that are sustainably produced. Only use locally caught fresh seafood. If you do serve coffee, tea, chocolate, or wine, make sure to source Fair Trade products that not only promote environmental stewardship but also protect workers’ well-being. If you must use candles, look for soy candles that won’t impact air quality.
Host Your Event Outdoors
A daytime event held in nature uses a lot less energy than one held in the venue. Air conditioning and heating are a stress on the environment. You’ll have natural lighting, instead of using light bulbs and electricity, and let’s not forget that being in nature and out in the sun is good for your mental and physical health. For evening outdoor events, use solar lights.
Reduce Water Waste
Water is a scarce resource that we often overlook when thinking about sustainability. Instead of plastic water bottles, choose reusable water bottles or ask guests to bring their own vessels from home. Have water stations where attendees can refill. If you’re hosting a meal, ask guests if they’d like a glass of water before just setting one at every setting. It may not seem like a lot, but the less water you serve, the fewer glasses you’ll have to wash.
Make Your Guests Aware of Sustainability
Educate your guests about what you are doing to be sustainable. If you’re having a fun day, get bike-powered coffee makers or charger stations that are powered by pedaling. Explain why you passed out reusable water bottles or aren’t serving meat. Be creative in addressing sustainability.
As part of your follow-up with attendees, ask them what they thought about your efforts. You could even ask if they have any ideas on how to be more sustainable. Some events are even asking attendees to offset their carbon emissions with an optional registration fee.
A sustainable event may take some extra planning, but it will pay off now and in the future. We have to be more committed to saving our planet’s resources. MTI Events can help you find ways to be more eco-conscious when planning your corporate event. Ask us for our recommendations!