Effective Business Events Blog • 29th April 2019
Working to make corporate events sustainable
Sustainable sourcing & reducing plastic consumption are hot topics at the moment, so how can you hold environmentally friendly corporate events? The spotlight is on companies to do their bit to help the planet. These issues are no longer just trendy, they are becoming a lifestyle choice. It’s great to see supermarkets working hard to cut plastic bags and packaging as are many other industries and manufacturers.
With approximately 85 million attendees per year at events in the UK alone, it’s only right that the events industry also works to reduce its carbon footprint.
At Effective Business Events & Travel, we strive to deliver the best environmentally friendly corporate events. Regardless of whether an event is large or small, there are always areas where sustainability can be improved, so we have put together some suggestions of how we, as an event agency are recommending our clients make their events kinder to the environment.
Ways we reduce plastic usage and source sustainably in event management
In the past, we have often used high-quality plastic resin domed name badges or lanyards with plastic inserts, but often these are disposed of straight after the event. We now source wooden, eco-friendly name badges, plus other items to be re-used. These include coasters and keyrings that provide both a unique and high-quality product.
Rather than providing single use plastic bottles, we suggest clients give their guests branded re-usable water bottles, preferably stainless steel. This not only cuts down on single use plastic, but doubles up as a quality branded gift. If this is not suitable and depending on the event, china or paper cups with cardboard or even pasta straws are good alternatives.
Sustainable sourcing for corporate events
In the past, signs would often be laminated, but do we really need to do this for short events and temporary signage? If an event is indoors then a good quality card is much better than laminating unnecessarily. Even better if venues have TV screens which can provide digital signage.
Choose your corporate gifts wisely and ensure they are useful gifts which will be re-used. Plastic pens will certainly be kept and used, however all too often they are individually wrapped in clear plastic sleeves, as are many other corporate gifts. Work with suppliers to ensure that this extra layer of unnecessary plastic isn’t used.
Avoiding plastic and foil decorations such as balloons will also help the environment. If you have a cocktail bar, ask them to provide fruit or natural decorations for cocktails rather than lots of colourful hanging monkeys!
How can we reduce paper usage and printing?
Using technology is a great way to cut down on paper usage & printing. This also saves time and money. Printing send sending postal invitations are now outdated. All invitations can be sent by email and all registrations managed securely with a bespoke event website. Guests can not only register, but update their registration with dietary requirements, flight details and any other useful information.
Event apps are also a great on-site tool for providing information and communicating with your guests. You can provide online directories, A-Z guides, itineraries and interactive maps that people have on their phone at all times without the need to print. Depending on the event, QR codes also are a great resource.
If you do need to print letters or anything else, we always ensure that the paper used is recycled and we print on both sides. After an event, any cardboard boxed and leftover paper are always re-used or recycled.
Travelling & Fuel
If you are looking for a team building event, then non-motorised activities such as dragon boat racing, treasure hunts and sports days are great. They are much more environmentally friendly corporate event than motorised sports.
When choosing a venue, ask about their environmental practices and ethics. If you are holding an outside event, avoid the use of generators if possible, but if they are required, then try to hire ones that run on biofuel.
We always encourage our staff to car-share to site visits and to airports wherever possible. When guests arrive at an event by plane, we try to group together as many people for transfers as possible, without deterring from people’s experience and making them wait too long. The fewer vehicles we use the better for both the environment and the budget!
We always try to find suppliers that are as close to a venue as possible. This not only ensures they are more likely to know the venue and local area but also cuts down on transport and travelling costs and helps cut the carbon footprint.
Where possible, ask for cars that are electric rather than petrol, although it may still be a little early to be too strict about this one!
How else can we help the environment?
When designing banners and marketing collateral in general, refrain from making them too personalised with specific event names (unless essential!) and dates. As well as reducing production costs, of course it means these items can be re-used at future events.
Ensure that rubbish bins are provided to encourage recycling – including glass, paper, cans and general rubbish. These should be large and clearly marked.
We always recommend catering sensibly for the number of guests attending and ensuring that there is not a mountain of food left at the end and any leftover food is given to those in need or composted where possible.
When catering an event we try to use locally sourced food and drink. Fairtrade if possible and preferably using seasonal and local flowers for table decorations.
These are just small but worthwhile steps to help do our bit for the environment. We are always looking to improve the sustainability of our events.
If you would like us to help you hold environmentally friendly corporate events then please contact us!