The world is finite, and our actions can have a real, lasting impact upon it. But in the midst of organising an event – a hectic process at the best of times – it can be easy to forget this.
Social and environmental responsibility is however becoming an ever more pertinent endeavour for the conference industry. This is why placing “Event Greening” (the effort to make socially and environmentally sustainable decisions) at the heart of your event from the outset, will help to ensure your environmental impact is positive and not just a stressful second thought.
With the tenets of Event Greening guiding every stage, your event will not only benefit your own business, but the environment and the local community too – a good outcome for all!
Implementing your Event Greening Agenda
Good Event Greening practice takes into account three factors, or the “the triple bottom-line”.
The triple bottom-line, also known as “planet, people, and prosperity”, consists of:
- Environmental Protection – reducing the ecological footprint of the event.
- Social Development – ensuring fair and beneficial business practices.
- Economic Value – maximising the financial benefit of the event.
Granted, finding a good balance between these factors can be difficult. Indeed, something that may be in line with one principle may appear to adversely affect another.
For example, making sure there are adequate recycling facilities at the event, in line with Environmental Protection, may incur an extra cost, and so go against Economic Value.
But Event Greening does not offer any hard and fast rules. It merely asks that you take into consideration the triple-bottom line and seek solutions that maximise each as much as possible. In our example it may be the case that that promoting the event’s stance on recycling would increase its appeal and so improve ticket sales and thus benefit Economic Value.
Such intricacies aside, there are some generic practices that any event organiser taking Event Greening should consider:
- Waste minimisation and management
- Water conservation
- Energy efficiency
- Emissions reduction
- Biodiversity conservation
- Social and economic development
Don’t be a Washout by Greenwashing
Once green is on the agenda, it’s important that you’re always showing you best colours, and avoiding the temptation to “Greenwash”.
Greenwashing occurs when an organisation, or event, claims to hold higher environmental credentials than it actually does and therefore misleads the consumer, whether intentionally or not.
From vagueness to flagrant lies, Greenwashing can take many different forms, but its seriousness doesn’t waiver and will almost certainly result in a tarnished brand image.
To avoid greenwashing it is a good idea to source certified goods and services (such as, for example, fair-trade and FSC accredited organisations). Using certified products not only ensures that you will not be guilty of greenwashing; it also means you will be able to use the certifiers’ branding to promote your event!
Event Greening can act as an axis around which you can orientate your event. Abiding, as best you can, by the triple-bottom line, will help you to make the most responsible and business savvy decisions. This means that your event will likely be a success first time round, and have the best chances of happening again in the future.