Going Green: 5 Eco-Friendly Ideas for Your Next Event

The events industry is notoriously environmentally unsustainable – but as a greater focus is placed on reducing waste and shrinking carbon footprints, the industry is taking note and embracing green practices. Whether choosing a paper-free program or partnering with green vendors, take a look at a few of the top ways to host an eco-friendly event.

What is a green event?

Green events take a strategic approach to minimizing waste and reducing impact on the environment. While there are no specific regulations around what makes a green event, reducing the consumption of materials and energy are two common ways to improve sustainability.

Why go green?

The central driver of planning a sustainable event is, of course, to benefit the environment. Along with the benefits to the environment, there are strategic business reasons, too. Going green can help in building your business’ positive image and reputation; additionally, there are aspects of green meetings and events that can save money.

Adopting a mobile app, for example, can save thousands of dollars on printing. TEDxMileHigh, the Denver-based independent TEDx organization, moved away from paper programs and handouts and implemented an event app for the TedxMileHigh: RESET event. With that change, the organization saw savings of over $7,000, showing how going green can benefit both the environment and your bottom line.

Eco-friendly event ideas

Communication

Sustainability can begin the moment you start communicating with your audience. Choose digital platforms like an event website, email, and an event app, rather than producing paper invites. Your event app, for example, enables events to go paperless by acting as an event program, digital map, and a platform to hold session materials like presentations and speaker bios.

Venue

Choosing a green event venue is another way to reduce your impact. Pick from over 60,000 LEED-certified buildings in the US to host your next event. Many other venues go green going paper-free, using low-flow toilets, and using locally sourced ingredients. When identifying potential venues, make sustainability a priority.

Transportation

When thinking about carbon footprint, organizers often overlook transportation. Keep transportation in mind when selecting a venue; strategic event venue selection can encourage public transportation and reduce car use.

Waste

Reducing waste can come in many forms. From utilizing recycling and eliminating unnecessary paper materials, to choosing swag that won’t immediately be tossed in the garbage, events have many opportunities to reduce waste. When thinking about how your event can reduce its environmental impact, take inventory of your current program and then look for opportunities to cut out the waste.

Vendors

Develop green requirements for your vendors and exhibitors and communicate your expectations early on. It’s your event so it’s your call if vendors should follow suit and eliminate paper handouts or swag that will likely end up in the trash. Sustainability is a shared responsibility, so ensure that all involved with your event are committed to your goals.

Bonus idea! Give back

If you’re looking for additional ways to reduce your impact, think about hosting a green initiative at your event. Give participants the opportunity to plant trees, clean up a park, or collect donations to benefit an organization.