How to create a sustainable business event

In today’s society, we are all becoming more aware of protecting our environment and creating sustainability within our community.

Never before has sustainability been so top of mind when planning a corporate event or conference.

This is a focus of ours when organising events for clients and I’d like to share 10 simple tips for creating a sustainable business event.

1. Use an event application

Think about all the wasted paper documents that conferences have gone through over the years! Via some user-friendly technology, distributing content to delegates can be not only sustainable but more cost effective. Event apps are one way you can provide easy access to your conference content, event news, sponsor advertising, speaker biographies and transport information.

2. Use an online event survey

Using digital platforms such as online surveys will also significantly reduce the amount of printing.  It can also bring interactivity to your event planning, create audience engagement and enable you to tailor content to the requirements of your delegates.

3. Use mobile ticketing

The use of hard copy entry tickets is reducing for events around the world through mobile technology. Why not incorporate this into your next business event through a QR code ticketing system? Not only will it help create a more sustainable event, but it enables an efficient check-in and check-out system for delegates and will enable you to quickly report on attendance.

4.  Choose a venue close to public transport

Choosing a great venue is an important decision for any professional event planner. But how can you ensure that your choice is sustainable? Choosing a venue that is close to public transport is one good way. You can then encourage delegates to use public transport as a travel option and promote these travel options, timetables and maps in your delegate information. You may find it saves you money on securing parking at the venue too.

5. Consider a venue with natural light and ventilation

Another consideration when choosing a sustainable venue is how much natural light and ventilation is available. Can you still see clearly while minimising the number of lights on in the room? Are there windows that you can open if it is a nice day?

6. Investigate your crockery and cutlery options

Most business events will have some form of catering whether it is a coffee and tea break or a full lunch. When you are in the event planning stage, ask the venue about sustainable options such as re-useable crockery and cutlery or bio-degradable options. If the venue doesn’t have either, discuss the option of sourcing these yourself.

7. Ensure there are waste recycling options

Another simple way to make your event more sustainable is to ensure that appropriate waste disposal options are available. Look at the availability of both general waste and recycling bins onsite and how it is disposed. Research if the venue has official certification as an environmentally sustainable venue.

8. Look at the supply of drinking water

By providing water jugs or water dispensers along with re-usable cups or even company-branded water bottles, you can reduce the disposal of water bottles during the conference. Company, event or sponsor branded water bottles are also a great marketing tool and potential sponsor benefit.

9. Include re-usable items in gift packs

By featuring re-usable items in your delegate packs such as pens, USB sticks and caps, you are not only minimising the amount of items that may be discarded at the end of the conference but you are making available another branding opportunity for the event or sponsors.

10. Don’t date some of the conference materials

Many business events over-order their branded materials in case they run out, but in the end, have lots of leftovers and potential wastage. By not putting a date on these items, you may be able to use any remaining stock in future, possibly if the conference is being held again and branding does not require a change.

These are 10 simple ways that corporate events can be made more sustainable. If you need any guidance in delivering a sustainable conference, we have a team across Australia and New Zealand ready and able.

Rachael Ziccone is Conference & Events Manager for Corporate Challenge Events and member of the Professional Conference Organiser’s Association in Australia.

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