Whether you’re hosting meetings and events in your own backyard or you’ve chosen a global destination, the last thing you want to do is create excessive pollution and waste in the course of planning and executing your gathering. Not only is this detrimental to your host city, but it could offend attendees and perhaps tarnish your image in the process.
This is why so many event hosts and their event management teams are working to find ways to make events, both large and small, more sustainable. The good news is, there are several avenues to explore, and some could even save money and add convenience for guests. Here are just a few strategies you and your event company can employ to add sustainability to your upcoming events.
Says Aurelio DeMendoza, SR VP Marketing and Strategic Alliances “Sustainable events are easier than ever to plan and execute because so many businesses are seeking ways to do their part and offer green products and services. You just have to search for resources that contribute to your event in suitable ways.” For the past 3 years AMI has been a promotional partner and has attended the SPLC Summit in Minneapolis, MN. The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council works to improve sustainability efforts globally and the annual conference brings over 400 professionals together yearly to find ways to improve. The partnership with the SPLC has given AMI the opportunity to improve sustainability efforts in meetings and events.
The three R’s are: reduce, reuse, and recycle. You and your event company have endless options to implement these eco-friendly principles. A good place to start if you’re interested in sustainability is by going paperless. Many companies have already done this in the office setting, at least to a degree, by upgrading to digital file storage systems, and you can gain the same benefits when you go paperless for events.
Technology has paved the way for an easy transition to paper-free affairs, now that everything can be managed online and through apps. Not only can attendees find information, sign up, and pay online, but you and your event management partner can find ways to continue the trend at your event.
Your registration booth could utilize digital check-in via tablets or you could provide attendees with an app for remote check-in that allows them to skip the line. You could provide digital passes (instead of paper badges) that attendees can flash on their smartphones and you can upload all materials (itineraries, maps, etc.) for attendees to access digitally. This will cut down on all kinds of paper and other waste and provide added convenience for guests.
In addition to going paperless, you could reduce energy use by hosting meetings, panels, or other activities in sunlit rooms or even outdoors, weather permitting. Instead of stocking welcome baskets with prepackaged items, you could include reusable water bottles and fresh fruit, or opt for snacks produced by companies subscribing to sustainable practices
Sustainability takes many forms, and one thing you and your event management company can do to create sustainability on every front is partner with local businesses, especially those that have their own eco-friendly initiatives. For example, you might choose a caterer that offers an organic and locally-sourced menu. You could work with a local taxi service that uses hybrid and/or electric cars. You could find hotels and venues that prize sustainability.
If you want to plan sustainable events, start by partnering with an experienced global event management company like American Meetings, Inc. (AMI) that has the knowledge and resources to put you on the right path.