Event sustainability has become essential for success in today’s meeting and conference industry. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important as an evaluation criterion for meeting planners, and venues are often asked to implement specific green initiatives as part of a bid. But a sustainable event goes beyond climate and environmental protection: social aspects and also forward-looking financing must also be taken into account.
Implementing green initiatives
Venues that implement sustainability programmes not only do the right thing for the environment, but also benefit in three ways: environmentally, socially and economically.
Environmental benefits range from reducing carbon footprints to creating a better working environment to improving air and water quality on the site and in the surrounding area.
Social benefits include improving the health and well-being of employees, enhancing the image in the local community, positively contributing to the sustainability of the planet and improving the quality of life for future generations.
Another benefit is attracting quality staff and increasing staff retention, especially among those under 40.
Economic benefits include increased productivity, cost savings on energy, water and utilities, attracting new clients and increased retention (planners look for venues that have certifications or sustainable programmes), improved risk management and security, and the opportunity to collaborate with other innovative businesses.
Sustainability and social responsibility
Sustainable practices are more accessible than ever before. There are many ways in which a venue’s sustainability can enhance its uniqueness, character and social responsibility.
The Federal Environment Agency has listed various recommendations for event planners and venues in its guide to sustainable events (in German). In addition to objectives and explanations, companies receive tips and recommended measures for sustainable event management in various areas. Divided into fields of action ranging from mobility, venue and accommodation, energy and climate, catering, procurement, waste management, water, communication, guest gifts to social aspects, organisers and venues learn how they can implement events sustainably in the future and be economically successful at the same time.
In addition, the Federal Environment Agency has compiled a checklist for practical use (in German) in which the most important aspects can be picked up and ticked off.
Tips for sustainable events
Some tips for implementing sustainable events:
- Use more regional and seasonal products to reduce delivery routes and storage costs. Higher costs can be compensated for through sponsoring contracts or longer-term cooperation. This is not only sustainable, but also strengthens the local economy, which is visibly involved in the event.
- Moreover, surveys and green initiatives show time and again that people are generally willing to spend more money on sustainable products. Make use of this goodwill already in the planning and your communication in the run-up. Make your event greener and more socially conscious, while also using alternative funding channels such as crowdfunding.
- Ask your suppliers to source low- or no-packaging products, buy in bulk to reduce packaging, or take back packaging for recycling or reuse.
- Use reusable and/or recyclable products in catering to reduce the amount of waste per participant.
- To reduce energy consumption, use equipment of the highest efficiency class or LED lamps. The percentage of green electricity in total electricity can also be increased. Venues can explore their options for alternative energy sources (solar, wind, geothermal or hydroelectric) and consider hybrid, biofuel or electric vehicles when purchasing company vehicles.
- Enable accessible access and information to show social responsibility.
- Replace traditional paper flipcharts with electronic flipcharts.
- Use recyclable or reusable signage and name tags for conference groups.
Replace bottled water with refillable bottles or containers that are refilled on site.
- Check all doors and windows for proper seals and maintain them properly to prevent heat and cold loss. Conduct energy audits with a plan to implement recommendations and reduce the carbon footprint.
Focus at Prolight + Sound 2022
This spring, Prolight + Sound will also place a central focus on green events. For the first time, the trade fair will feature a theme day on 27 April, Green Event Day, which will focus on the responsible use of natural resources. For this purpose, companies and associations will present their green initiatives on the “Main Stage” in Hall 11.1, thus underlining that commitment to sustainability can also pay off economically.
In this context, I would like to express my respect to the industry, which has managed to further expand its commitment to more sustainability despite the greatest economic constraints. Thus, ecological solutions and the ‘green event’ idea will play a central role at Prolight + Sound 2022.
Mira Wölfel, Director Prolight + Sound
However, green events do not only play a role in new highlights at the fair, but also run through the entire programme. As part of the Guided Tours, manufacturers of energy-saving and ecologically beneficial solutions will present their products. Companies receive input on how they can renew media technology equipment with a view to a more positive eco-balance.
The traditional Future Hub combines the personnel future of the event industry with ecological aspects. For example, the special showroom, where offers for talents are bundled, is built using resource-saving and recyclable materials and is powered 100 per cent by green electricity.
Images: anncapictures / Pixabay (2 images), Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay