Business events such as conferences and exhibitions can be major sources of carbon emission. Travel to and from the event, energy used by the venue and promotional materials amongst other things emitted over 60,000 tons of CO2 in 2009, from UK events alone. With a bit of careful planning, these sorts of emissions could be cut right down. The tips mentioned below don’t just apply to big, corporate events either. Events of any size, from conferences to weddings, could take inspiration to hold an event with low carbon emissions.
- Try and select a venue in a city that’s close to where most of the participants in the event live, and one that has a good public transport network so that people can use the greenest possible option to travel to your event.
- If possible, opt for an energy efficient venue, and request organic, locally produced food and drink. Make sure there are no disposable cutlery, plates, bowls and so on in use and that there are plenty of places for people to recycle.
- See if you can negotiate room blocks for your guests or participants in hotels within walking distance to the venue – or within the venue if it offers accommodation.
- Ensure that all promotional materials are functional and/or recyclable, and sustainably produced where possible. For example, notebooks made from recycled paper are useful, whereas something disposable such as a balloon will just be thrown away and probably can’t be recycled.
- Encourage businesses taking part in your event to use as many environmentally friendly supplies as possible. Things such as display banners and exhibition stands can be provided by companies with an environmentally-friendly focus, ensuring the carbon footprint will be low.
- During the event, try and get the low-carbon/carbon-neutral message out there as much as possible, and encourage your guests to adopt green behaviours whilst participating. Small things such as turning off lights when they leave a bathroom or recycling their rubbish can really add up when repeated hundreds or thousands of times over the course of your event.
Liberty-Belle Howard is a UK blogger with a keen interest in green issues. She is currently blogging on behalf of Marler Haley.