Crafting Sustainable Events: A Guide for Reducing Emissions

Sept. 11, 2023, noon • By Eddie Fitzgerald-Barron

How can I reduce the carbon footprint of my event?

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Sustainability is not just a trend; it's a movement, a necessary shift towards responsible living. As we traverse various spheres of our lives, there's an increasing consciousness to tread lightly on our planet, to reduce our carbon footprint. Events, which historically have been associated with excess and waste, are no exception. Event organisers, it’s time to jump aboard the green train!

1. Rethink Your Décor Choices

While the allure of fresh flowers is undeniable, their carbon footprint is hefty due to transportation and preservation needs. But fret not, there are greener alternatives to ensure your event doesn’t skimp on charm.

  • Local and Seasonal Blooms: Reduce transportation emissions by sourcing flowers that are in-season and local. Not only is this eco-friendly, but it also adds a touch of authenticity to your event's aesthetic.
  • Sustainable Alternatives: Consider reusable fabric drapes, recycled paper ornaments, or even centrepieces crafted from upcycled materials. Décor can be both chic and sustainable.

2. Green Transportation Options

Your attendees need to get to the event, right? But let’s steer them in an eco-friendlier direction.

  • Car-Sharing Platforms: By integrating or recommending existing carpooling apps, you not only promote camaraderie among attendees but also reduce the number of vehicles on the road.
  • Public Transport Perks: Offer incentives – maybe discounted tickets or exclusive goodies – for those who choose buses, trains, or trams over personal cars.

3. The Culinary Carbon Footprint

Every food choice can leave a carbon mark. Here’s how you can serve delectable dishes with a side of responsibility:

  • Plant-Powered Menus: A completely meat-free event might sound radical, but with the right dishes, attendees might not even notice the absence of meat. And if going wholly vegetarian isn't feasible, consider a menu that significantly reduces meat offerings.
  • Prioritise Local: Source ingredients locally to reduce the miles your food has traveled. Plus, it's a delightful nod to the locale's culture and specialties.

4. Sustainable Stationery

Let’s rethink how we invite and inform.

  • Digital All the Way: Electronic invitations and RSVPs not only cut down on paper use but also on transportation emissions.
  • Eco-Friendly Print Options: For occasions where tangible invites are apt, consider recycled or seed paper. It's a touch attendees will appreciate, especially when they see wildflowers sprouting from their discarded invite!

5. Power Up, The Green Way

Those humongous generators might light up an event, but they also contribute to the carbon load.

  • Harness Renewable Sources: Depending on the event scale, solar power stations can be a viable alternative. They're silent, efficient, and green!
  • LED Lighting: Efficient and versatile, LEDs provide ample light without the hefty energy consumption.

6. Aim for Zero Waste

Yes, zero might sound ambitious, but with the right strategies, it's achievable.

  • Ditch Single-Use Items: Implement deposit schemes for reusable cups and plates, ensuring they’re returned and reused.
  • Promote Recycling: Clearly labelled bins for compost, recycling, and general waste can guide attendees to dispose of things responsibly.

7. Educate and Engage

Knowledge is power. The more your attendees understand the 'why' behind sustainable choices, the more they're likely to appreciate and participate.

  • Communication is Key: Use platforms, maybe your event app or brochure, to highlight your green initiatives and explain their importance.
  • Interactive Sessions: Host a short session or workshop on sustainability. It can be a fun, enlightening addition to the event lineup.

To Conclude

Events, large or small, have an environmental impact. But with a sprinkle of innovation, a dash of determination, and a good measure of responsibility, event organisers can ensure this impact is positive. Remember, every little counts, from the coffee cup you serve to the stage you set. As we've seen, a nudge in the right direction, can ripple into significant positive change. So, let's reimagine events - making them not just memorable for attendees but also kind to our planet.

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