Sustainability is fast finding its way to the world of events, with demand for sustainable event management factoring more and more often in event briefs. To stay ahead of the curve, it’s essential that event organisers adopt the technology and tools to help them in the transition.
To make it easier, we’ve put together a list of some of the best resources and tools available to eventprofs, to help you from planning through to reporting. Whether it’s sustainable venues you’re after, or support on measuring your event objectives, these resources are designed to have you in the green.
Planning and consultancy
Planning sustainability into your event from the outset means that you’ll reduce the workload later. Whether it’s minimising the amount of materials that you buy new, or choosing suppliers from within a smaller radius, coming at your event with sustainability in mind means you’ll have a clearer overview of what needs to be done throughout the process.
With the field of sustainability being new to many in the industry, it helps to have an expert to show you the ropes, and introduce the concept of sustainable event planning. Here are some we’re confident recommending.
Event:decision provide measurement and reporting across events, so you can identify key contributors to your carbon footprint and make the case for reducing these next time round. They also advise on planning sustainable events, from reducing high-emission materials, to considering transport options and more sustainable event formats.
Event Cycle is an organisation committed to reducing waste in the events industry. They help to cut down the waste of an event from the very beginning, advising companies on how to source more sustainable materials, and turn unavoidable excess materials into donations. They work with organisers from the planning stage to post-event distribution, and have worked for high-profile clients, such as COP26.
Green Circle Solutions provide impact assessments for businesses and organisations across energy, waste management, and environmental responsibility. They offer guidance and support on frameworks for building sustainability into events and business operations.
Proseed, by isla, is a resource that provides frameworks for companies in the events industry for becoming more sustainable. With guidelines and advice across different branches of the industry, it’s a fantastic all-rounder, and self-help tool for getting to grips with incorporating sustainability into your event from start to finish.
Your suppliers have a large impact on your event’s overall carbon footprint, so finding venues and suppliers who align with your goals is an important step in reducing your impact. We’ve put together a guide to sourcing sustainable suppliers and greening your supply chain, where you can find more in-depth information and pointers on finding the top suppliers for your events, as well as lists of the top sustainable venues in London.
Hire Space sources suppliers and venues for all kinds of events, and works closely with venues on addressing sustainability and helping them to make more sustainable choices. Our team of event experts can help you to find the right suppliers for your event – just get in touch today, or check out our top sustainable venues to have a browse of what’s out there.
Here are some other resources that can help you find the right suppliers:
One of the biggest and most visible contributors to an event’s footprint is the waste produced during the course of the event, from set-up and sourcing, to pack-down. Waste is seen as an inevitable part of events, but there’s a lot that can be done to reduce the amount of waste produced, and stop any excess materials ending up in landfill. Here are some of the best tools and organisations out there for reducing and rehoming your unneeded materials.
As mentioned above, Event Cycle helps businesses and event organisers to make better decisions around the materials they select for events, but the team also factors in the lifecycle of the items beyond the event, and makes it their mission to repurpose and find homes for items that can’t be avoided. They’ve provided event carpeting for houses, fake trees for children’s centres, and helped turn PVC banners into beach bags to raise money for a refugee charity.
A staple of home moves, Gumtree isn’t solely for rehoming bikes and beds – if you have chairs, tables, event stands, decorations, or event merchandise that you have no use for anymore, the chances are that someone out there will be happy to take it off your hands. We recommend advertising the items before the event so that interested parties can collect them during the pack-down. You may also be able to offset some of the costs of the items, which could then become a donation to an environmental organisation.
Like Gumtree, Facebook groups are ideal for giving away or selling on items that you no longer need. Both Marketplace and private or public groups can be useful places to connect with others, particularly in the events industry, who might be in need of materials that you’re looking to part with. Look for Buy, Swap, and Sell groups in the area of your event, or join an event planning group in your city or region.
This goes both ways, too – remember to look out for items for sale or being given away before you look to buy new. This keeps things in a circular economy, where usable items are repurposed rather than ending up in landfill.
Paper Round (soon to become Recorra) provide recycling and waste collection services with a difference. They aim to turn discarded products into items with a new use and new lease of life through responsible recycling management – just imagine, at your next event, you could be giving out reusable cups made from unavoidable waste generated by the previous event!
First Mile is a recycling and waste management organisation that is committed to zero-waste-to-landfill – they recycle and reuse materials wherever possible, and any that can’t be reused is converted to energy. They also have a fleet of electric bikes that are custom built to be used for waste collection, reducing transport emissions from your event.
Too Good To Go’s mission is to cut out food waste by connecting businesses with excess food, with those who can use or distribute it where it’s needed. This can mean selling the food on at a reduced price, which saves both money and good food from being wasted. Often, venues that are working towards better sustainability are already set up to work with Too Good To Go – you can read more about our top sustainable venues for more information.
If you haven’t yet been asked to report on the emissions or environmental impact of an event, the chances are that you soon will be. After all, as the saying goes, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”.
While measurement means improvement, which is a positive direction for events, it can be daunting to undertake these calculations yourself, and to know where to begin with. Luckily there are plenty of tools out there to make it easier.
TRACE by isla is a tool for anyone in the events industry to use to track and measure the emissions of their operations. It also compiles the data anonymously and creates reports on the state of the industry across the board, to help set a benchmark across the events sector. The tool generates impact reports in real time, so you can keep clients and stakeholders up to date with your event sustainability objectives. Plus, it presents the data in a really accessible, intuitive way, so there’s no gate-keeping around taking steps towards sustainability.
Glisser’s Carbon Calculator is specifically designed for events, providing an estimation of the carbon footprint of your next in-person event based on information you feed it. It also provides a comparison to show you how much emissions you would save if 25% of your guests attended online, so that you can make the decision to make your event hybrid if desired.
As mentioned above, event:decision collect data on event emissions, calculate the overall impact, and provide reports on the footprint breakdown. These can be used to direct efforts for the next event, and can be shared with stakeholders and clients to demonstrate a commitment to reducing carbon emissions. The reports are polished and detailed, giving you the maximum opportunity to use your insights to improve going forward.
We hope that these tools come in handy when incorporating sustainable solutions into your event. If you’d like to suggest any more that we can share here, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more guidance on integrating sustainability in your events, check out our event sustainability hub for guides, templates, and resources from experts in the industry. It’s time for us all to work together to reduce the impact of the events industry on the planet.