Simple ways to make your event more sustainable

Blog Thought leadership
Conference set up with four chairs across from cameras. There is windows behind the chairs with greenery outside
A single conference attendee can generate up to 1.89kg of waste each day. We are always looking for creative solutions to this problem; here are 10 event ideas you can easily implement to make a big difference. 

There is an accelerated demand for sustainability initiatives and, as an events agency, we have seen sustainability as a key buzzword across discussions in the event industry over the past year. Live events can have a significant environmental impact, with the carbon footprint increased by all of the main aspects of an event, such as travel, food and venues. This means it is so important to take an eco-friendly approach to event production. So, how can we be more sustainable?

Go Paperless

Scannable QR codes for digital business cards have become the quick and easy tech that is replacing paper almost everywhere we go. Menus, tickets, contact details, brochures and seating plans can all be paperless. 

Mobile apps and interactive technology are also a greener way to engage guests with gamification, polls and important details such as timetables all in one hub.

Choose carbon neutral agencies and suppliers

Broadsword is a carbon neutral events agency and sustainability is key to our approach to event production. This means we offset all the carbon we produce in our business operations, including in our own internal events, into carbon offsetting projects. 

You should also opt for suppliers who put sustainability into practice. For example, there are a number of print suppliers who deliver sustainable print solutions to reduce the environmental impact of their work.

Choose a responsible venue

There are many venues that are investing in sustainable practices, such as using renewable energy sources and recycling programmes. You can also check if a venue has credentials for sustainable events such as ISO 20121.

Ocean Diva offers a unique venue space and hosts some impressive sustainability initiatives.They have a zero landfill policy, offset their carbon footprint and source local and seasonal food for their onboard catering services. On top of this they are the first C02 neutral event vessel on the River Thames. Find our top sustainable venues here. 

Two people in front of windows with greenery around. There is a camera and chairs set up for a conference.

Virtual events are here to stay

Virtual events rose in popularity through the global coronavirus pandemic, as an alternative solution to in person activities. However long-term benefits have arisen from this format such as eliminating the need for travel. Using online events, we can bring global audiences together for a fraction of the carbon.

Cater to the climate

It’s been estimated that plant-based catering can reduce the carbon footprint of a 500-person event by up to 10 tonnes! Many catering companies offer a fully plant-based menu and sustainably and locally sourced food. 

Planning the amount of food according to the number of attendees ahead of time helps to reduce food waste. There is often inevitable food waste which can be solved by partnering with food donation, livestock feeding programmes, food waste for industrial energy and compost creation.

Go Plastic Free

Single use plastics such as cups and cutlery can be easily replaced as there are many more sustainable options such as edible versions by Stroodles. You should say no to all plastic by giving reusable gifts such as water bottles that can be filled throughout the event at refill stations. 

Re-use and repurpose

Set design is material-heavy but you don’t need to just use equipment once. Fabrics can easily be made into something new. You can opt for reusable signage that can be utilised for your next event which also saves money or use projection mapping rather than printing to display dynamic designs.

Utilise nature

Bring the outside in with live plants, which can be hired from a plant rental company to reduce waste. Green decorations, such as up-cycled pallets or recycled paper decorations, are also gaining popularity.

Transport options

Something to consider is how your guests and speakers are getting to the event. If all your guests are travelling in separate, private vehicles this adds a great deal to the carbon footprint of your event. 

To reduce this you can choose a venue close to a public transport station, encourage attendees to take this option with incentives or provide shuttle services to the venue. 

You can ask guests to provide their choice of transport in feedback forms to offset their impact from attending the event. 

Go Carbon Neutral

Broadsword are now implementing a carbon measurement tool to offer clients the option to offset the carbon footprint of events that can’t be reduced. This is measured across key factors such as waste management, transport and energy usage and then offset into a sustainable project. 

Get in touch with our events agency if you would like to know more about this service or to see how we can work together to plan eco-friendly events!