9 Tips to Help Make Your Event Environmentally Friendly
Invitations are flying, the crowd is gathering – it’s party time! There’s lots of food and drinks to go round, and the smiles are broad. Everyone remembers the moment. Everyone and everything —including the environment! While events are to be savoured, we should be wary that every gathering will have an environmental impact and we should take steps to minimise that impact as much as we possibly can. So here are some tips to help you make your event environmentally friendly.
1. Choose a ‘green venue’
Many venues in the hospitality industry are committed to becoming more environmentally friendly, so choosing a ‘green venue’ for your special occasion is a great starting point. Many events venues across the UK are going one step further and ensuring they have some sort of certification to evidence their good practices. Here are a few questions you might like to ask the venue of your choice:
- Do they hold ISO 20121, a specific event sustainability certification ensuring venues are socially and environmentally responsible?
- Do they have the Green Meetings Standard, a new certification by Green Tourism specifically for meetings and events? Many hotels, for example, may already hold a Green Tourism award. This is their list of members, allowing you to search by name or geographical area.
- Have they achieved the Responsible Business Standard, a more generalised certification for any business to evidence it is operating ethically and responsibly and reducing its environmental impact?
But many there are also many other venues that are environmentally friendly, albeit they haven’t achieved any type of certification. Venue Finder provides a searchable list of sustainable venues
2. Ditch the invitation cards
Invitation cards are cute ways of informing people of the event you have coming. Nevertheless, they serve no other purpose the moment we get the info on them. Choosing emails and messaging platforms for event invites is certainly a better option. In shorter words, go digital. It’s got more style than any card can carry anyway and apart from reducing environmental impacts, it will save you money too!
3. Reduce travel carbon emissions
You can’t take full responsibility for the cars people drive or the way they choose to travel, but there is a lot you can do to mitigate travel carbon emissions. If there are a lot of cars gracing the parking lot, that’s not a good environmental sign!
If you can, try choosing a location with proximity to a train station with a shuttle bus to pick up guests and drop them back. You could also encourage car sharing in your invites, or suggest groups hire a mini-coach. You’ll have fewer cars toying with the ozone layer and more guests will be able to relax and enjoy a drink!
4. Suggest green accommodation options
If your venue does not also offer overnight accommodation, you could also use the options in tip number one to make a list of nearby hotels and guest houses with green credentials for your guests. You’ll be helping ensure environmental impacts are minimised and making it easier for your guests to find nearby accommodation.
And as above, if you have large numbers of people staying at one location, you could arrange a shuttle bus.
5. No plastics, please!
According to National Geographic, hundreds of millions of tonnes of plastic waste is released into the environment yearly. The impact of this on the environment is massive and this is a very important way to make your event environmentally friendly.
You can determine to cut the rising count of plastic throwaways by using eco-friendly materials for your events or, at worst, use recyclable plastics and ensure that they are recycled! This plastic-free event guide will provide some more ideas.
6. Consider the menu
There are two key elements of your food choices that can have big environmental impacts:
- Obviously, all hosts want to ensure their guests are well-fed, but food waste is a huge problem. Don’t overdo the food and ensure it comes out in stages so that any food not used has been kept covered and chilled and can potentially be offered to guests to take away for use another time.
You might also be able to find a homeless shelter that would be grateful for any leftover food if it has been properly stored.
- The environmental impact of meat and dairy products is huge, so whilst you may not want to cut out the beef, chicken, and prawns entirely, do ensure you have plenty of veggie and vegan options.
Also, do ask the venue about their suppliers and try to ensure meals are prepared using local and natural ingredients as much as possible. This is something all venues trying to be more environmentally friendly should be doing, anyway. But if you are using outside caters, ask them the same question. And ensure they don’t use single-use plastic!
7. What about entertainment?
Whatever sort of entertainment you are considering, ask them appropriate questions about being environmentally friendly, and try to use local people to avoid the travelling implications. There are many platforms you can use to find exactly what you want such as the Alive Network, as you can see if you do a search for Hiring a live band from Essex.
8. Make the participants aware of your plans to go green.
Informing the attendees beforehand of your plans would go a long way to help you achieve your goal. Driving home that consciousness into attendees would not make any of the above steps questionable and most will be willing to cooperate and would not mind any perceived limitations it imposes on them.
9. Get an event planner that shares your idea
If you don’t want to bother yourself about any of these, seek help from event planners who specialise in green events. Let them know your thoughts and expectations. You’ll find those willing to do all of these and more to make your event environmentally friendly.
Events are part of our social needs, but their implications can make a mess of our environment. We all know that we have a role to play in the big targets we need to meet across the world to reduce our carbon emissions. Being part of the solution instead of being part of the problem is not only the right thing to do, but it will also make you feel good too.