7 Effective Ways to Make Your Event Greener

Conferences and events play a crucial role in knowledge sharing and networking, but they can also have a significant environmental impact. From excessive energy consumption to wasteful materials, traditional conferences often leave a large carbon footprint. However, as sustainability becomes an increasingly important global concern, it’s essential for event organizers to take conscious steps towards making their meetings more sustainable. Here are seven effective ways to reduce the environmental impact of your conference while creating a more sustainable and eco-friendly event.

1. Choose a Green Venue

Selecting a green venue is a fundamental step in making your conference more environmentally friendly. Look for venues that prioritize sustainability by implementing energy-efficient practices, waste reduction strategies, and renewable energy sources. Consider venues that have achieved certifications such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or ISO 20121 (Event Sustainability Management System). Additionally, opt for locations that are easily accessible by public transportation to reduce attendees’ reliance on private vehicles.


2. Embrace Digital Communication

In today’s digital age, there are numerous ways to reduce paper waste and embrace digital communication at conferences. Encourage attendees to use digital apps or platforms for registration, ticketing, and conference programs instead of printing physical copies. Utilize digital signage and screens for schedules, session information, and wayfinding, minimizing the need for printed banners and signs. Furthermore, consider using digital surveys and feedback forms to collect participant input, reducing paper waste and simplifying data collection.


3. Opt for Sustainable Catering

Food and beverage services at conferences often generate significant waste. To make your conference greener, work with catering providers who prioritize sustainability. Choose locally sourced, organic, and seasonal food options, reducing the carbon footprint associated with transportation and supporting local farmers. Serve vegetarian or vegan meals, as these have a lower environmental impact compared to animal-based options. Avoid single-use plastic cutlery, plates, and cups by using compostable or reusable alternatives. Consider leaving food that is safe at room temperatures (such as fruits) out for longer periods of time to ensure none is wasted.

4. Reduce Energy Consumption

Reducing energy consumption is a crucial aspect of creating a greener conference. Check if your venue uses energy-efficient LED bulbs and natural light sources wherever possible. Implement motion sensors in meeting rooms and common areas to ensure lights are only on when needed. Encourage speakers to use energy-saving modes on their electronic devices and provide charging stations that automatically power off when not in use. Additionally, consider offsetting the carbon emissions generated by the conference by investing in renewable energy projects or purchasing carbon offsets. One Podium Conference Services client includes the option of a tree-planting add-on to their conference registration form, allowing the delegates the choice to help offset the carbon emissions of the event.

5. Promote Sustainable Transportation

Transportation is a significant contributor to carbon emissions. Encourage participants to choose sustainable transportation options when traveling to the conference. Provide information on public transportation routes and schedules, promote carpooling or ridesharing among attendees, and incentivize the use of bicycles or walking for shorter distances. Offering bike racks, electric vehicle charging stations, or shuttle services can further encourage sustainable transportation choices.

6. Cut the swag

One big contributor to the waste produced at conferences are the disposable (and often single use plastic) branded trinkets handed out at exhibitor booths. While you may not wish to alienate your sponsors and exhibitors, you can politely communicate your efforts to reduce waste by asking them to consider bringing recyclable marketing materials or consumable items rather than plastic ones.

7. Use recyclable materials

For necessary conference items such as name badges, search out recycled badge holders and inserts. They are often sold at a similar price point as their non-recycled counterparts. You can also collect name badges at the end of the conference and re-use the holders and lanyards in future years.

By adopting these seven effective strategies, event organizers can significantly reduce the environmental impact of conferences and contribute to a greener future. Making conferences more sustainable not only helps mitigate climate change but also enhances the reputation of the event and demonstrates a commitment to environmental responsibility. By prioritizing green options, conference organizers can make a positive difference and inspire others to follow suit. Together, we can create a more sustainable and eco-friendly event industry.

If you would like help with making your event more sustainable, please contact us

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