Sustainability is a core tentpole of the future of events and one that BB Events is incredibly passionate about. By being more mindful about our choices in putting an event together and tapping into a bit of creativity and ingenuity, we as individuals and an industry can make a big difference in the planet.
I challenge you to make sustainability your mindset and not just an afterthought. If we live our lives through a sustainability lens, it’s easier to plan events with this lens too!
Below, we’ve put together our top tips for creating sustainable events.
Sustainability for Individuals
Small sustainable steps like recycling our home waste may be commonplace now. But living more sustainably is so much more more than that. As a business owner or entrepreneur, here are some creative (and easy) tips that we use ourselves:
Switch to an environmentally-conscious search engine Ecosia is a 100% plant-powered browser. Install it as your default search engine on your business computer (and home laptop), and for every search you make, it plants a tree. So far, they’ve planted 170 million trees!
Ditch the car Get out in nature AND get physical. Walk, run or cycle to work or consider public transport if your workplace is too far to travel on foot. With the rise of electric cars, many homeowners are taking it further by ditching the fumes and installing a convenient charging port at home.
Start by allocating important emails into folders, then do a mass delete of everything else. Think of it as a ‘Spring Clean’ for your inbox. Moving forward, once you’ve read an email, store it in a folder or delete it immediately.
Sustainability in the Workplace
Individuals continue to look for sustainability credentials from businesses. And staff want to know that their company is doing the right thing. Here are some switches you can make:
Get outside with a tree planting CSR day Get out of the office and into nature with a tree-planting day. I’ve seen companies add a ‘plant a tree’ incentive to their newsletter sign-up link, so every new member equates to a tree your team will plant. Watch your community; and your saplings grow.
Encourage an end-of-day ‘lights out and power down’ This tip is inspired by Earth Hour, when we turn off unnecessary devices for one hour. But it got me thinking, why limit it to one hour? Encourage staff to turn off their devices at the end of the day rather than having them on standby 24/7. If they’re the last to leave the office, suggest they turn off the lights. Just ensure everyone is out before it goes dark and the door gets locked for the weekend!
Limit water waste
Install a water fountain for staff to refill their reusable water bottles. A jug and glasses are a nice touch for meetings instead of single-use bottles. In the communal kitchen, pop a reminder above the sink to turn off the tap between washing dishes.
Sustainability at Events
Sustainable events are easy with a bit of forward planning.
Firstly, I look at my vendors and caterers and make sure their values align with mine at BB Events.
Use eco cutlery and plates Compostable bamboo cutlery is great for casual, buffet-style catering. See if the venue or catering department has plates and bowls they can lend you for formal events.
Reduce food waste Implement a guest RSVP process and ask for dietary requirements in advance. Work with your caterers more strategically to offer smaller portions and pace out the food so that you don’t have tons of fresh food waiting on tables, going to waste.
If you have leftovers, offer your staff and volunteers take-home ‘doggy bags’. After a long day at the event, a freshly prepared meal to come home to is a real treat!
Next up, reducing event waste.
Cut down on printing Paper waste is a biggie for me, as many events have brochures, attendee lists, menus and posters to print. We’ve been trialling QR codes that guests can scan through their smartphones to discover the menu, event program, info on speakers and more. If I need to print materials, I remove specific dates and locations to reuse them across multiple events.
Say ‘no’ to single-use plastics
Simply put, single-use plastics are a no-no at my events. I ask staff to bring their own refillable water bottle, especially for workers who are constantly on the go, like cleaners.
Ask how furniture will be wrapped and transported to the venue Some companies wrap the furniture in single-use plastic sheets — a kind of industrial-sized cling wrap — that’s ripped off and thrown into landfill. See if your removalist has reusable cloths, cardboard and paper to wrap your goods.
Decorate with nature
Reclaimed wood and driftwood are great centrepieces for tables to make your event more sustainable. Dried or preserved flowers will last the whole season if you run multiple events. If I use fresh flowers, I make sure they’re local, sustainably-sourced blooms and partner with vendors Gather Flora and Hella Plant Market, who stock local, seasonal flora, so I know the transport carbon emissions are low.
Bonus points for allowing your guests to leave with one of the centrepieces, looking into options for donating them or preserving them so they don’t immediately go to waste.
Ready to shift to a sustainability mindset?
For a more sustainable event industry, it all starts with you. By taking the time to choose your vendors, food and tools more consciously, we can all do our part for the planet.
To guide you through a sustainable event strategy, BB Events can help. We work closely with our clients to create impactful events that not only communicate their causes but create a positive impact as well. Get in touch with us today.