How can corporate events achieve environmental ambitions?

How can corporate events achieve environmental ambitions?
Arthur Wilson
Arthur WilsonArthur Wilson Digital Marketing Freelancer

Posted: Tue 23rd Apr 2024

Businesses across all sectors, large and small, are doing what they can to reduce the environmental impact of their day-to-day operations.

From easy steps like better management of office waste to more comprehensive operational changes, such as switching to an electric fleet, most of us are thinking of ways to save the planet – and often, our wallets.

Corporate event managers are presented with a particular challenge within this business environment. They’re required to deliver an incredible experience for delegates and companies but also meet the demand to enhance the green credentials of the event.

Which, when you consider the amount of printed materials, transportation, food and drink, cleaning, plastic and general waste and even the lighting and heating for the event, there’s a lot to consider!

The benefits of reducing environmental impact

Work to make an event more environmentally friendly can come at a cost. First, the additional time it takes to source new products, procedures or even suppliers to achieve green aims. But also in the increased costs of those supplies. For example, giving each delegate their own ‘keep cup’ would cost more than using the usual paper cups for their morning coffee.

But these changes should be looked at as a whole. That one more expensive change, replacing paper cups with a ‘keep cup’, introduces another branding opportunity or even an advertising opportunity for one of the companies taking part – especially if they are a supplier of branded keep cups! Reducing whole-event waste production will also significantly cut rubbish collection and disposal fees, too.

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Most important though is the positive association that ‘going green’ with your event will foster within the business community. Firms that want to live by their greener values and CSRs will seek out and want to promote the fact that they’re investing in events that are better for the environment.

Achieving green ambitions: A strategic approach

So how can event organisers achieve their green ambitions? There are a potentially limitless number of areas that can be investigated to help achieve that goal, but here’s a look at some of the more apparent areas of environmental opportunity.

1. Local sourcing

One effective strategy for reducing the carbon footprint of corporate events is to utilise local suppliers. This approach cuts down on transportation emissions and also supports the local economy. By sourcing food, materials and services locally, events can significantly reduce their overall environmental impact.

2. Reusable ‘keep cups’

As noted above, providing delegates with a reusable keep cup for the duration of the event can dramatically reduce the consumption of disposables. These cups can also be branded, offering an additional marketing opportunity while promoting sustainability.

3. Managing food production

Careful management of food production is crucial to minimise food waste. This involves accurate attendee number forecasting and working with caterers to adjust food quantities as needed. Donating surplus food to local charities or food banks can also be an effective way to ensure that leftover food does not go to waste.

Watch this webinar to learn about the steps your business can take to reduce its climate impact:

4. Zero-to-landfill waste disposal

Partnering with an event waste management company committed to a zero-to-landfill policy ensures that event waste is recycled, composted or converted to energy rather than contributing to landfills. This approach significantly reduces the environmental impact of waste generated at the event.

5. Clear recycling stations

Implementing clear recycling stations throughout the event venue encourages participants to segregate their waste correctly. This can be further enhanced by gamifying bin usage, such as by allowing delegates to vote on a topical question based on their trash disposal choice, thereby engaging attendees in a fun and meaningful way.

6. Clean energy supply

Supplying the event with clean energy, through the use of supplementary solar panels or sourcing energy from renewable providers, can significantly reduce the event's carbon footprint. It may be incumbent on the facility itself to provide these guarantees, but it’s easier than ever to choose an energy supplier that guarantees a percentage of power supply from renewable sources.

7. Accessibility and public transportation

Ensuring the event location is well-connected to public transportation networks encourages attendees to opt for more sustainable travel options. Offering incentives for using public transport or shared travel solutions can further reduce the event's overall environmental impact, or make it easier to not use a car by laying on shuttle busses to and from the nearest train station.

8. Digital innovation

Leveraging digital tools and platforms can reduce the need for physical materials, such as paper for agendas and handouts. Encouraging digital interaction not only reduces waste but also enhances the attendee experience through innovative technology solutions. This approach can be used for marketing collateral, event entry lanyards, digital displays instead of posters and printed backdrops and so much more.

The journey towards sustainability

By adopting sustainable practices, such as local sourcing, waste management and the promotion of clean energy, corporate events can lead by example in the global effort to combat climate change and enhance reputation simultaneously.

But remember that appearing to ‘be green’ is no longer enough, especially for consumers who are increasingly adept at spotting greenwashing. Choosing sustainability and eco-friendliness should be a strategic aim, your primary marketing message, and the reason why organisations and companies choose your event and venue over your local rivals.

Relevant resources

Arthur Wilson
Arthur WilsonArthur Wilson Digital Marketing Freelancer

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