Green Events: Support Corporate Responsibility With Sustainability in Event Planning
Updated: Apr 18
As the world normalizes gatherings again, events that were put on hold due to the pandemic are back in production. Convention centers are reopening and everyone is eagerly awaiting the chance to network and connect. Two big shifts have occurred since we did this last: health and safety protocol and an increased demand for sustainability.
Here’s what you need to know about making events the corporate world knows and loves more environmentally responsible.
What is Sustainability in Event Planning?
Planning an event in a sustainable way requires organizations and companies to consider all practices, processes, and efforts that go into creating it. From travel and lodging to paper materials and electricity, sustainable event planning considers the social and environmental ramifications of all areas— then strives to implement better solutions full-scale.
Making “greener” events means organizers and participants must aim toward a common goal: do as little damage to the environment as possible, while contributing to a memorable shared experience that inspires growth.
Environmental and Economic Impact of Events
Data from decades of major events is increasingly public knowledge, and corporations are under pressure to shift to environmentally-friendly practices. For instance, air travel emissions alone have quadrupled since the 1960s since an uptick in business travel. The non-recyclable waste generated by most conferences, concerts, events, and similar is immense.
Here are some of the facts:
On average, 40% of the waste produced at events ends up in landfills.
A three-day, 1,000-person event results in nearly 12,500 pounds of solid waste.
An online event was found to produce 66x fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the same in-person event from years prior.
Conversely, events can benefit the economy and society. According to the Events Industry Council (EIC):
In 2021, business events alone supported 10 million jobs globally.
Face-to-face meetings and conferences contribute over $621 billion in GDP.
3.2 million jobs were provided by the events industry in the U.S. alone.
With environmental initiatives increasing in the events industry, new opportunities open for organizers and participants. Creating greener events promotes accountability, innovation, and new ways to scale across industries.
Green Practices in Event Planning
Establishing reasonable sustainability objectives for event planning is the initial step toward more earth-friendly gatherings. Event companies with high standards for ethics and making a positive impact must create goals that align with environmental efforts. Guests and organizers aren’t the only people affected by sustainable planning— stakeholders are on the line as well. Obtaining a balance is necessary.
If everything goes according to plan, your event will:
Entertain and inform a diverse audience with new perspectives, solutions, and opportunities.
Meet the values, needs, and goals of various stakeholders.
Leave a positive impact on communities directly involved with your event.
Minimize waste and reduce harm, ensuring ample safety, security, and sanitation protocols are met.
Connect people with bigger, broader networking experiences that will positively impact them long-term.
Strengthen the reputation and legacy of your organization or company.
Here are some factors to consider when putting sustainability goals into motion.
Sustainable Event Management
If you hire an event company to manage your event, ask about their sustainability processes. It’s a major feat to make any event 100% sustainable, but there are always sustainable actions to take into account. Event coordinators who are climate-conscious have systems in place to reduce carbon emissions and excess costs.
Virtual and Hybrid Events
Online events hold value in the sharing of ideas among communities. The many benefits of virtual events are well-known at this point. Hybrid events allow guests the traditional in-person experience while also offering attendance online.
Sustainable event management allows organizers to get serious about their partnerships. Incredible influence can be made when acquiring event sponsors who fully align with the vision, values, and ethos of leaders. With greener, wiser sponsors, it’s a win-win: event holders can stand behind organizations they believe in, while sponsors spread their message and gain the awareness of new, loyal customers.
Eco-Friendly Vendor Options
Food and product vendors are prime culprits for event waste. Hiring eco-conscious vendors who use recycled plates, reusable cups, or plastic-free packaging will support your mission to go green. Partnering with local farmers and restaurants is a way to feed attendees while cutting down on what has to be shipped over long distances.
For more on sustainable vendors, read about Choosing Vendors Based on Your Personal Beliefs.
In-person events use a lot of printed and promotional materials. Printing is one of the top 15 most wasteful industries in the world, producing toxic chemicals from ink and paper processing. Decreasing an event’s carbon footprint may mean sourcing recyclable print materials or providing digital alternatives (for example, QR codes to PDF downloads).
Corporate climate leadership is a growing center of the EPA. Access a list of free resources here when planning events as well as info on corporate management initiatives.
The Wynning Experience: Ethical and Sustainable Event Planning
For physical and electronic events to become more sustainable, event companies are met with the pivotal opportunity to champion change. The Wynning Experience is driven by our mission to provide sophisticated, ethical, and innovative solutions for businesses of all sizes. We know that by making events less harmful to the environment and society, we are doing our small part to preserve a better world for tomorrow.
If you need help making your next event environmentally friendly while still delivering an outstanding experience, reach out to us today.