Following a sustained period of pandemic isolation and travel restrictions, many companies currently have two items on the agenda: events and sustainability. In fact, a significant amount of current business trips are centred around events, either new or re-scheduled. Now’s the time to reconnect with colleagues, suppliers, networks and check in with prospects and clients.
In this blog post, we offer some top tips on how you can bring people together, in a more sustainable way.
Consider location, services and green agendas on offer. Ask the venue team about their own approach to things such as; energy consumption, supplier lists, location and how delegates will arrive. Consider whether attendees can share transfers or walk to the event.
Maybe an offsite team building in the country sounds like the perfect tonic for some creative thinking. However, the remoteness can also be a negative in terms of the effort to get your delegates onsite. Revisit the length of stay; if possible merging various meetings together for a multi-day event. One larger meeting instead of three smaller ones can vastly reduce your impact.
Next, think about what your event can bring to the wider local community. Benefits stretch as far as employment, supplier sales, spending in local shops and bars/restaurants/cafes/hotel stays.
For most events, there is a sustainability impact resulting directly from delegate travel to the venue. Choose somewhere which is easy for your team to get to, near the majority of your attendees and/or accessible by various modes of transport such as train. If flying to a venue, can everyone get the same flight and/or share transfers from the airport?
Food & drink
Use sustainable and seasonal food where possible. Choose free range poultry, instead of beef or lamb with local vegetables. Tea & coffee from fair-trade growers with vegan milk alternatives. Minimise food wastage by catering for exact or close numbers, time the re-fill of the buffet, and consider donating leftover food to organisations such as FoodCycle.
Does the venue have large refillable water bottles, to reduce the plastic waste? Use less by encouraging attendees to fill their own glasses.
If you’re not planning to go paperless (some do), think about the stationery and props you’re providing. These include pens, paper and flipcharts. Can these items be sourced sustainably and/or derived from recycled materials?
Make exhibitors and attendees aware of your sustainability efforts. There are innovative ways that power can be generated and used as part of your event, such as cycling to make smoothies and cocktails. LED lights can be selected where additional lighting is required. Perhaps exhibitors can recycle or re-use their stand? Less plastic and more natural, wood-based structures can be more easily recycled.
Being aware of your sustainability efforts will naturally make attendees think twice about their choices before, during and after the event.
Use a tool such as Trees4Travel to provide an overview of individual and group impact from the event. Attendees fill out a quick online survey highlighting items such as travel methods, eating choices at the event, and afterwards you can see what your event impact was and identify areas for improvement.
Knowing the carbon footprint of your event, means you can offset your impact by growing trees or investing in renewables etc. By offsetting, you can ensure that you achieve a carbon neutral event.
Share your Success
Any steps we take towards more sustainable events, should be celebrated and encouraged. If you can demonstrate what you did to reduce the environmental impact of your event, then share it with your community. Your efforts will remain front of mind, ensuring important events can go ahead with sustainability very much on the agenda.
At MIDAS Travel, we offer a meetings & events service as part of our 360 offering. Our team are working with partners to offer more sustainable event options to our clients.
If you would like to speak to us about booking an event, then please contact your MIDAS Travel team. For any new enquiries, please get in touch.