Going Green: Strategies for Sustainable Event Management

The environmental impact of major events, such as music festivals, sports matches and corporate gatherings, is becoming increasingly important to both organisers and attendees. After all, without sustainable event management practices, these events can generate a substantial amount of waste and often require a lot of power to keep the lights on. So how can you turn these get-togethers into eco-friendly festivals without sacrificing scale or excitement?

The Impact of Large-Scale Events

Big events can leave a big environmental footprint. They consume a lot of resources like electricity, water, food and materials for construction and decoration. If left unchecked, this can lead to excessive waste and pollution, something no event manager wants for their event. By prioritising environmental concerns, big events can reduce their impact on the planet while setting a positive example. By emphasising sustainability, they can inspire attendees and the wider community to adopt more eco-friendly practices at future events. And who knows – this might even have a ripple effect that goes beyond the event itself.

The good news is that with thoughtful planning, it is possible to significantly reduce your event’s impact on the environment. In addition to the obvious environmental benefits, eco-friendly events can improve your brand image and even lead to cost savings.

Eco Friendly event attendees

Planning an Eco-Friendly Event

1. Choosing The Right Venue

It all starts with the venue, so choosing the right spot is important. Choosing a location with a strict sustainability policy can go a long way. This means things like energy-efficient lighting, water-saving fittings, greywater systems and recycling infrastructure are already in place. 

Choosing venues that are easily accessible by public transport or within walking distance of populated areas can reduce your travel-related carbon footprint. Not to mention, it makes your event more accessible to attendees from all walks of life.

2. Keep Waste Management in Mind

A comprehensive waste management plan is a key component of any sustainable event management plan. Promote recycling and composting by providing clear signage and convenient disposal locations at the event. Collaborate with your vendors to minimise packaging or use biodegradable materials as much as possible. 

An ambitious yet attainable goal is to aim for zero-waste events where all waste is recyclable, compostable or reusable. Unfortunately, this is not always possible for large-scale events. In most cases, waste generated by an event needs to be properly disposed of after the event.

3. Emphasise Energy Efficiency

Big events mean a lot of equipment needs to be powered. Try to reduce energy consumption as much as possible and use renewable energy sources where you can. Some events have successfully used solar panels and biofuels to power stages and event spaces. 

The cost of renewable energy technologies like solar panels and wind turbines has been steadily decreasing in recent years. In many cases, they are now a cost-competitive option compared to traditional generators. For events, this translates to potentially lower energy costs, while also achieving environmental benefits.

sustainable event management

4. Conserve Water Where Possible

Events can consume large amounts of water, especially when thousands of attendees are involved. Conservation strategies include employing water stations instead of bottled water. Reusable water bottles can be encouraged, or even offered for purchase as branded event merchandise.

Installing low-flow faucets, showerheads and toilets in restrooms and concession areas can significantly reduce water usage without compromising hygiene or functionality. These fixtures use clever engineering to maintain water pressure while minimising the amount of water dispensed.

5. Sustainable Transportation Methods

Encourage and facilitate the use of more eco-friendly modes of transport, by providing information, incentives and facilities. This could include renting a shuttle that transports guests, encouraging carpooling and providing bike racks. Be sure to provide clear information about available public transportation routes, pick-up and drop-off locations for shuttles, designated carpool areas and bike parking facilities to avoid any hiccups. 

Promote sustainable transportation options prominently on the event website, social media channels and ticketing platforms. Offer incentives like free parking or priority access to event entrances for carpoolers, and a designated carpool lane for faster entry. Provide secure and well-lit bike parking facilities with complimentary water bottle refilling stations and basic repair tools to encourage cycling.

6. Environmentally Friendly Suppliers and Materials

From catering to decoration, choose suppliers who put sustainability first. This includes using local, seasonal ingredients, renting equipment rather than buying it and eliminating single-use plastics such as cutlery and plates.

Try to partner with caterers who have established relationships with local farms and producers. This reduces the distance food travels from the farm to the table and ensures that food is fresher at the event. Instead of purchasing disposable decorations, rent items like tablecloths, chairs, centrepieces and signage. Look for rental companies with a commitment to sustainable practices, such as using eco-friendly cleaning products and recycled materials. 

sustainable event management wind turbine

The Future Looks Green

The transition to sustainable event management will require some effort and investment, but the benefits are evident as well as important. By adopting eco-friendly practices, event organisers can lead by example and demonstrate how large-scale events can be unforgettable, while at the same time, leaving no trace.

The road to sustainability is a shared one, involving planners, vendors, attendees and authorities. It’s time to start setting new standards, proving events can be enjoyed without compromising the health of the planet. Contact The RSVP Agency for more tips on planning a more eco-friendly event, or browse our website to get more info.