We have written before on how with clever design you can make your events more sustainable. If you can cut down waste, then you will ultimately save money. Some ways include having menus that cut down food waste, pick a plant-based menu and just change the protein for those who want vegetarian, meat, or fish. Ask the venue about donating any leftover food. Look at giving everyone reusable coffee cups and water bottles (these could be sponsored) and having water stations and coffee stations. If you hold regular events, you could incentivise people to bring their reusable cups and bottles to each event. Stage and exhibition stand design is also important, using materials that can be reused. It may cost you more initially, but subsequent events should be cheaper.
We did briefly mention carbon offsetting your conference. If delegates are on board, you could add a premium to the ticket so they can offset their travel. There are a few companies that offer this service. Some hotel chains are now offering it too.
Hilton’s “Light Stay” platform enables them to measure the carbon impact of each meeting they hold. They have been using the system since 2009 to help with corporate responsibility, measuring the environmental and social impact of their hotels globally. The chain has used this data to produce their Meetings Impact Calculator. This gives you an estimate of the carbon, energy, water, and waste that will be produced by your proposed meeting. They can then work with you to reduce this. Hilton have just taken this a step further though by offering Carbon Credits. Based on your meetings impact, Hilton will offset the CO2 emissions by procuring a carbon offset credit from the South Pole Group. South Pole Group use the money that Hilton give them to invest in carbon reduction projects that are aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
We will concentrate more on Multi-Site conferences in another article. They are definitely worth mentioning here under the sustainability banner. If you are planning an international conference it may be worth considering holding an event in multiple countries at the same time and linking the spaces via technology. You can have speakers in the different locations and broadcast the talks to the live audiences round the world. This will cut back on the need to travel long distances, but still give you and your delegates a chance to meet face to face.
Many hotels are really looking at their waste, their energy consumption and other green initiatives. The Green Tourism Award is endorsed by VisitScotland, VisitEngland, VistWales, Visit Northern Ireland and Failte Ireland. The Green Hotelier Award is issued by the International Tourism Partnership. Many hotels actively try to source ingredients for the menus locally, reducing food miles.
If you are interested in making your events more sustainable then please ask and we will happily talk through options and ideas. We will work with you to ensure we find a venue that shares your goals.