How to Make your Next Business Event more Sustainable

In a UN study, 93% of CEO’s stated that sustainability would be an important factor in the future success of their business. While the importance of eco-friendliness in general to business in 2016 cannot be overlooked, there are times when more waste is produced. One such time is at bigger events, such as exhibitions and conferences.


photo credit: Nan Palmero / Flickr

In some cases environmental responsibility is shared with venues, caterers and attendees. However, there are ways you can minimise waste on behalf of your business and manage more sustainable events throughout the year.

Technology can help reduce paper waste

42% of all global wood harvest is used to make paper, and paper accounts for 50% of the waste that businesses produce. Reduction of waste is one of the key benefits of using digital files. Powerpoint slides and online surveys can help to reduce the amount of printed content and with cloud storage readily available and free, it’s simple too.

At conferences, where event programmes are almost included, opting for the digital equivalent will help. In this case it is important to provide wireless internet at the venue, this allows attendees to either download the event’s timeline or access an online version from your site.

If you are using a remote location or wifi is not provided, there are companies that can provide wi-fi for events. This can be particularly helpful if you have numerous attendees and there are concerns that a venue’s internet speeds are too weak for the number of users.

Use eco-friendly materials

Planning a business event provides a unique opportunity to showcase your commitment to sustainability. One effective way to make your next business event eco-friendly is using eco-friendly customized mailer boxes for promotional materials and giveaways. These boxes can be made from recycled or biodegradable materials, minimizing the environmental impact. By opting for eco-friendly packaging, you demonstrate your dedication to reducing waste and promoting sustainable practices. Additionally, consider using digital alternatives for event registration and information dissemination to reduce paper usage.

Book your event in an eco-friendly building

Green construction is an area that is still trying to grow, which might make finding an eco-friendly venue for your event difficult. Luckily there are governmental bodies trying to help building get better at sustainability.

Projects like the Future Cities initiative can help venues become more green through advice

and partnership. They recently partnered with Hastings-based conference venue Sussex Exchange who are setting a fantastic example for other venues in the UK. The Sussex Exchange venue was redesigned to incorporate: ‘a biomass boiler, exceptional thermal insulation, natural ventilation, rainwater harvesting, optimisation of natural daylight, environmental lighting controls plus shingle roofs as a natural habitat for wild plants and insects.’

There are also companies that could manage your entire ‘green’ event from start to finish sparing your precious time and helping to save the planet.

Being strict with RSVPs can minimise food waste

Food is one of the ways the western world creates waste. When putting on a sustainable event, it becomes especially useful to know how many attendees you are hosting so that you only cater for accurate numbers and in turn reduce the extras or leftovers.

Research for Defra has shown that the UK landfill tax makes it increasingly important for SMB’s to reduce their food waste. The landfill tax is currently £48 per tonne and due to increase by £8 per tonne each April until it reaches £80 per tonne. If we keep wasting, the government will continue to increase charges.

Consider ordering individual meals for attendees rather than buffets, hopefully helping to keep your event attendees happy and fed without going against your sustainable aims.

You can also work with venue suppliers or local markets (if you are providing private catering) to choose in season produce from the local area. Not only will you be helping smaller businesses, like your own, but it will be more affordable and won’t be damaging the environment with transport fumes.

You can make your next business event easily more green, helping with global sustainability, by sticking to local suppliers, venues who share your eco-friendly aims and stopping the production of waste materials before they are created.


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