It’s likely your donors care about the environment and appreciate efforts towards sustainability. With in-person events returning, there is no better time to introduce sustainable approaches to managing your events. Here are some ways that you can include eco-friendly initiatives in your next event without stretching your budget.
1. Save Trees, Go Digital
Start your event preparation with a small change that will have a big impact: eliminate paper waste. Use digital tools to inform your attendees about your event. Digitizing save-the-dates, invitations, schedules and other materials will not only reduce your paper and ink usage but also save you the time and expense of printing and mailing.
At your event, skip the paper forms and programs. Instead, direct your attendees to your website to check in, view the schedule, and even donate. To make it easy for your guests, provide QR codes they can easily access on their phones.
2. Create a Green Catering Plan
Food waste is one of the leading sources of environmental degradation. A great way to minimize food waste is to opt for plated menus rather than buffets. Caterers can be more exact with the amount of food needed when using a plated style; whereas buffets often result in unnecessary waste. Plated menus are known to be better for health and hygiene reasons as well, so it’s a win-win for health and safety and the environment!
Additionally, offering more plant-based options at your event is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. By limiting meat consumption at your event, you will be positively impacting the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and soil degradation.You will also be providing your attendees with a healthier dining alternative and likely a cheaper alternative for your event budget.
3. Find a Sustainable Event Venue
Whether you are hosting a high-class gala or a small community gathering, the venue you choose can be a significant factor in your goals to achieve a sustainable event. Look for buildings and venues that have environmental sustainability certifications, such as the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED). Venues with such certifications have high water and energy efficiency, utilize green materials, and often incorporate structures such as green roofs and permeable walkways.
If such a space is not available, the next best venue is one that is easily accessible and close to public transportation. Rather than hosting your event on the outskirts of the city, choose a venue that is within walking distance of a light-rail station or bus stop. This can reduce the number of individual cars driving to and from your event. Create a map of public transit options to distribute to your attendees is to encourage them to take a more sustainable route to your event.
4. Minimize Single-Use Products
This is one of the simplest ways to incorporate sustainability into your event. Single-use products like disposable dishes, cutlery, and water bottles. are used for mere minutes, yet they contribute to the degradation of our environment for decades after we throw them away. Instead of using single-use plastics, choose products that are biodegradable, compostable, or reusable. For example, bamboo utensil kits are a great way to cut down on plastic and can double as a reusable gift for your attendees.
If you are really looking to impress your guests, give them reusable water bottles at the event and encourage them to refill them at the water stations in the venue. Not only does this eliminate the use of hundreds of disposable cups at your event, but your attendees can reuse their bottles in the future, saving even more waste down the line. That’s what we call a lasting impression!
5. Promote Your Sustainability Goals
You’ve worked hard to create an environmentally-friendly event, now it’s time to spread the word! Include your sustainability goals and actions in your pre-event communications. Share your progress in achieving your sustainability goals on social media, newsletters, and emails to get your attendees excited about the event. Encourage your guests to share in your eco-friendly effort. Remind them that these cost reductions from eco-friendly reductions means more money can be spent on your organization’s mission.
Go the extra mile after your event and share some statistics on how much energy you saved, how many people used public transportation, and other goals you achieved. By following up with this information after your event, you will demonstrate to your attendees the dedication you have to sustainability from beginning to end.