As the effects of climate change and environmental degradation continue to dominate headlines worldwide, the need for sustainable and eco-friendly event is getting greater. Here are 10 simple ways to make your next event more sustainable:
- Go virtual
When you go virtual, there will be no carbon emission from transporting to event venue, no consumables used, no physical wastage and no food wastage too.
2. Go paperless
Replace your paper menus, program booklet and tickets with digital copies or use an event website or app. Share them with your attendees ahead of the event. Use digital or erasable whiteboards and reusable signage.
3. Cut down on food waste
First, you want to get your guests dietary requirements in advance to prevent food waste. Use smaller reusable, non-single use plates to reduce portion size. Order food from restaurants that use locally sourced food. Lastly arrange to donate surplus food to charity.
4. Host your events outdoors during the early part of the day
You’ll use significantly less energy than an indoor event such as lighting and air conditioning when the air is cooler especially in Southeast Asian countries where the weather can be really hot during the day.
5. Choose an eco-friendly venue
Alright if you MUST have it indoors, select a venue that uses water-efficient appliances and fixtures and preferably uses solar power or solar heating. Bonus points if they proudly recycle and compost and uses environmentally-friendly materials. Remember when waiters used to pour water our water into glasses, let’s go back to that instead of using plastic water bottles where people tend to drink it half way and leave it behind somewhere.
6. Minimize transportation footprint
Choose a venue that is closest to your guests. Second, encourage carpooling or if possible hire buses or vans that are electric, hybrid or low emission. Third, ensure public transport is an option too.
7. Source sustainable merchandise
Doorgifts are great. It’s even greater if it’s package-free and eco-friendly. Don’t be mindless or follow the trends and ensure that your merchandise are things that your guests are sure to use and re-use over and over again such as branded stainless-steel tumblers, branded travel mugs, travelling cutlery kit, plant kits, recycled cotton products and many more. Source garments from ethical and sustainable companies too (not fast fashion where they are made in sweatshops!).
8. Have prizes and giveaways contribute to environmental causes or charities
Gamification is an important part of an event to make it fun. Instead of offering material prizes why not switch it up and donate to animal conservation or environmental causes as a prize instead? Example from a number of environmental or wildlife causes that you’ve vetted, let the prizewinners choose which cause they want to have a donation made in their name.
Another way to do this is to get sponsors involved. At your event, they can run a promotion or a competition and raise money for a worthwhile cause. For instance, they might offer to make a donation to a neighbourhood charity or green program if a particular number of guests stop by their booth and scan a QR code. This is a fantastic method for your sponsors to gain visibility and contribute to environmental protection!
9. Reduce waste
Reuse, like using glass cups instead of plastic single use cups. Recycle, for items that you cannot replace with reusables ones, ensure you have a recycling bin for it. Compost, for any reason you cannot “tapau” or donate your leftover food, make sure the venue has a composting program or at least can accommodate compost bins.
10. Go hybrid
Lastly, after you’ve done all that you can to make your event more sustainable, if that event MUST happen in real life, at least try to offer a virtual option. Going hybrid encourages guests to join the event virtually. And as we know by now, less physical guests equal to less consumables, food and carbon footprint.
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