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Sustainable Event Management: Leading Practices from Around the World

06 March 2024

Sustainable event management


As the world focuses on being environmentally conscious, the events industry is stepping up to the challenge by embracing sustainable event management practices. From reducing carbon footprints to implementing eco-friendly initiatives, event organisers globally are pioneering sustainable approaches to make gatherings more environmentally responsible. In this exploration of leading practices, we delve into the innovative strategies adopted around the world to make events not only memorable but also environmentally friendly.

Choosing sustainable event venues is a cornerstone of eco-friendly event management. Many organisers are opting for venues with green certifications or those equipped with renewable energy sources. Some venues even integrate rainwater harvesting systems and energy-efficient lighting, reducing their overall environmental impact.

Innovative Example: The Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, is a prime example of a sustainable venue, boasting features like solar panels, wind turbines, and a comprehensive waste-sorting system.

Minimising waste production and implementing efficient waste management practices are crucial components of sustainable events. Organisers are adopting strategies such as reducing single-use plastics, promoting recycling stations, and encouraging composting. Some events have even achieved zero-waste status by meticulously managing their waste streams.

Innovative Example: The Glastonbury Festival in the UK is renowned for its commitment to waste reduction. Through stringent recycling practices and reusable food containers, the festival aims to send zero waste to landfills.

Addressing the environmental impact of attendee travel is a key consideration for sustainable event management. Organisers are promoting eco-friendly transportation options, such as shuttle services using electric vehicles or encouraging attendees to use public transport, bicycle rentals, or carpooling.

Innovative Example: The COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow featured a robust, sustainable transportation plan, including the use of hydrogen-powered buses and incentives for attendees to use low-carbon modes of transport.

Harnessing digital technology to reduce the need for physical presence is a growing trend in sustainable event management. Virtual participation options, live streaming, and digital collaboration tools not only expand event accessibility but also significantly lower carbon emissions associated with travel.

Innovative Example: The Collision Conference transitioned to a fully virtual format in 2020, attracting a global audience without the environmental impact of international travel.

The food and beverage aspect of events plays a substantial role in their ecological footprint. Sustainable event organisers are focusing on locally sourced, seasonal, and organic catering options. Some are even implementing zero-waste catering practices to further minimise environmental impact.

Innovative Example: The Sustainable Brands Conference incorporates sustainable catering practices by sourcing ingredients locally and working with caterers committed to reducing food waste.

Acknowledging that some emissions are unavoidable, many events are investing in carbon offset initiatives. Additionally, organisers are increasingly opting for renewable energy sources to power their events, from solar and wind energy to biofuels.

Innovative Example: The Formula E racing series has committed to being a carbon-neutral championship by offsetting emissions and using fully-electric race cars.

Sustainable event management is no longer a niche concept; it is becoming a standard practice embraced by event organisers globally. By adopting innovative and eco-conscious strategies, events are not only minimising their environmental impact but also setting a precedent for the future of sustainable gatherings. These leading practices from around the world serve as inspiration for global event organisers seeking to make a positive contribution to both the industry and the planet. As the momentum for sustainable event management continues to grow, it heralds a promising era where memorable experiences and environmental responsibility go hand in hand.



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