2023 Guide to Incorporating Sustainability in Events

Sustainability at Events: 2024 Practical Guide

March 6, 2024  
Reading time: 5 minutes

Planning an event? Don't forget sustainability! While event management can be intricate, incorporating eco-friendly practices doesn't have to be. This guide empowers you to effortlessly combine events and sustainability, hosting successful sustainable events in 2024. From minimizing your carbon footprint to collaborating with eco-friendly vendors, our strategic tips show you how to easily incorporate sustainability at events.

I. What is Sustainability at Events?

Sustainability at events is all about minimizing environmental impact while maximizing social and economic benefits. This means using green practices to reduce energy, water, and waste. In today's world, the side-by-side walk of events and sustainability is crucial, as even small gatherings can have a significant impact. By prioritizing sustainability in event planning, you can:

  • Protect the environment: Reduce your carbon footprint and conserve resources.
  • Engage guests: Offer activities that show your commitment to sustainability.
  • Create positive outcomes: Benefit guests and the community you're hosting in. 
Close up view of a person handing a wooden cube with a recycling symbol on it to another.

II. Reasons Why You Should Incorporate Sustainability in Events

Incorporating sustainability in events is no longer a trend, it's a necessity. In 2024, guests, sponsors, and stakeholders expect event organizers to prioritize the sustainability of events, and for good reason. Here's why incorporating sustainable practices into your next event is a win-win:

  • Boost Your Brand with a Sustainable Event: Consumers, especially millennials and Gen Z, are increasingly drawn to brands that align with their values. Showcasing your commitment to sustainability events demonstrates environmental responsibility, raises awareness of important issues, and builds brand loyalty.
  • Attract Top Talent and Sponsors: Sustainability in events isn't just about optics. It attracts eco-conscious talent and sponsors who share your values and want to be associated with a progressive organization. This can lead to stronger partnerships and a more engaged workforce.
  • Save Money on Event Supplies: Sustainable practices often translate to cost savings. Locally sourced materials, reusable items, and energy-efficient equipment can reduce expenses while minimizing your environmental footprint.
  • Embrace Environmental Responsibility: Events and sustainability can be a creative match and doesn't have to be restrictive. Further, it sparks creativity and innovation, leading to unique experiences that resonate with attendees. Explore sustainable event ideas like upcycled decorations, locally sourced catering, and carbon offsetting initiatives.
  • Lead by Example and Inspire Others: By implementing sustainability events ideas and practices, you become a role model for others in the industry. Since, this inspires positive change and encourages wider adoption of sustainable events, creating a ripple effect for the environment.

III. 10 Ideas to Make Your Events More Sustainable in 2024

When it comes to events, sustainability isn't just a nice idea anymore - it has become a requirement. Fortunately, with the right strategies in place, it can be easy to host a successful and sustainable event. In this guide, we'll discuss ten simple and effective ways to minimize your event's impact on the environment.

1. Go Digital and Embrace Sustainability at Events

Reduce paper clutter and embrace sustainability by opting for digital processes. Send e-tickets, conduct online surveys, and utilize event apps instead of printed materials. If printing is unavoidable, choose recycled paper or compostable alternatives.

A catering table with a selection of bite-sized foods served on china and other reusable cutlery at a sustainable event

2. Avoid Single-Use Items

Combat plastic waste by partnering with vendors who avoid single-use items. Further, opt for compostable utensils and dishes, or consider reusable dinnerware to increment sustainability in events. Also, reduce food waste by offering smaller portions and donating leftovers to charitable organizations.

3. Consider A Green Venue 

Make a big difference by selecting venues with sustainability measures in place. Therefore, look for LEED-certified buildings with natural lighting and reusable materials to include sustainability in events. Additionally, for multi-day events, choose Green Key certified hotels and power down electronics at the end of each day.

four hands holding up different objects to represent recyclable materials, a plastic water-bottle, a tin can, paper and a glass-bottle

4. Provide Recycling Bins

Encourage responsible waste management with clearly labelled recycling and composting bins throughout the event space. Furthermore, partner with local facilities to establish a comprehensive waste diversion system. Also, educate attendees on proper disposal and empower them to be active participants in the event sustainability efforts.

5. Opt for Eco-Friendly Decor

Reduce waste and promote sustainability at events with beautiful eco-friendly decor. Hece, select items made from bamboo, recycled materials, or locally sourced elements. Also, incorporate plants, succulents, or upcycled items for a unique and eco-conscious touch.

Beautiful colourful quinoa salad served in compostable bowls with compostable forks

6. Offer Sustainable Menu Options

Reduce your environmental footprint and delight your guests with sustainable food choices. Furthermore, instead of individual servings, consider buffet style options featuring locally sourced fruits and vegetables. In addition, explore plant-based, vegetarian, or gluten-free options for a delicious and sustainable menu that caters to all dietary needs.

7. Incorporate Sustainability in Events with Water Stations

Provide reusable cups or encourage guests to bring their own water bottles instead of offering single-use plastic bottles. Furthermore, this sustainable practice reduces waste, saves water resources, and conveys a strong environmental message.

8. Encourage Sustainable Modes of Transportation

Promote an event sustainability plan for events by encouraging public transportation, walking, or carpooling. Also, offer maps for public transit users, run shuttles from key locations, and suggest carbon neutral options for guests traveling by car.

Two people outdoors planting trees to support an environmental cause

9. Support an Environmental Cause or Institution

Leverage your event as a platform to raise awareness about environmental issues and educate guests about the importance of sustainability. Further, partner with an environmental organization or cause to engage people in discussions and broaden their understanding of environmental challenges and solutions.

10. Gamify your Event with Sustainable-Themed Activities

Make sustainability in events fun and engaging by including themed games and activities. For example, eco-trivia quizzes, sustainable fashion shows, and DIY upcycling stations can educate and encourage participants to adopt eco-friendly practices in their daily lives.

Bonus Tip: Create a sustainable event guide outlining your event sustainability plan and green initiatives. Further, share this guide with attendees beforehand to build excitement and encourage their participation.

By implementing these sustainable event ideas, you can make a positive impact on the environment, enhance your event's reputation, and create a memorable experience for all participants. Remember, small changes can lead to big results when it comes to sustainability at events.

IV. How Can Timely Help You Incorporate Sustainability at Events?

Timely can help your next event be more sustainable by embracing digital solutions for event planning, promotion and registration. These are impactful sustainable practices, which reduce waste and also streamline processes and create a better user experience for guests.

By using Timely event management software you can tremendously reduce paper waste. You’ll not only avoid the use of materials that can’t be recycled, but also save time by automating processes like promotion, ticket sales, and attendance check-in.

For example, with Timely, you can promote your events and sell tickets online. You can also send out digital tickets, and opt for mobile QR code ticket readers instead of paper tickets or printed badges. Whenever possible, choosing digital over printed materials is a great way to incorporate sustainability at events. 

Try Timely's digital event software solutions today and discover the future of sustainable events!

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