The success of eco-friendly events such as Green Man Festival and Wood Festival in the UK, or the races organised by EcoTrail in France, can inspire all kinds of event planners. Having a positive impact on the environment, building a positive brand image in the minds of an increasingly environmentally-mindful audience, as well as the minds of those entities who value and support these actions, cutting down costs… There are many benefits to making your event environmentally-friendly. Here is how to achieve this.
First and foremost, you should be aware that these actions cannot all be implemented at once, you will need to proceed step by step. Some actions have a bigger impact than others, and therefore should rank higher on your list of priorities. In order to know what to prioritise, we suggest that you formally review the environmental impact of your event; it will be useful to identify any strategic priority that would help reduce your footprint. Marsatac Festival used this as their starting point and the festival is now a model in terms of green events.
Choose your venue carefully
The first step in organising an environmentally-friendly event is, of course, the choice of venue.
- Avoid, as much as possible, Heritage Sites protected by the local authorities.
- Then, favour an area close to cities so that your attendees and your service-providers can limit their travel time.
- Offer alternative transportation solutions for your attendees. The possibilities are endless: partnering with public transports, green or hybrid shuttles, car-sharing services, horse-drawn carriages! The most important is to communicate on these options well ahead of time to encourage people to use them.
An environmentally-friendly venue benefits from good exposure to natural light to reduce power consumption and favour set-up of solar panels and access to drinking water and clean bathrooms to avoid transport and installation of facilities on-site.
Make the most of on-site equipment to reduce consumption
An event’s power consumption is one of its biggest sources of negative environmental impact. Choosing a venue that already has access to power means reducing the need for extra power generators, and therefore reducing your impact. You should also favour the use of energy-saving light-bulbs and LED lights.
In terms of food and drinks, use local services and value locally-sourced food. That way, you reduce transport time for your providers and you promote the local produce and heritage at your event. It is a way to reduce your footprint and have a positive impact on the local area, thereby potentially attracting the support of the local government.
In terms of facilities, dry toilets remain the greenest solution. Be sure to clean them regularly throughout the event to prevent your attendees from going through hell every time they use them!
From event communication to green communication
Being green is usually not enough – it is critical to communicate about sustainability before, during and after the event.
Communicate regularly on all the alternative modes of transportation available to your attendees: car-sharing services, public transports, etc. Why not offer discounts on tickets to eco-friendly attendees? (this is possible using our ticketing platform’s cross-selling option!). Any action favouring the involvement of your attendees is a win!
The environmentally-friendly nature of your event also depends on your choice of communication supports. Favour social media, emails, your website or a mobile app to reduce the use of printed material.
However, if you do have to print some material, be sure to choose sustainable materials, to maximise their circulation and to opt for a sustainable graphic charter (i.e. colours and font requiring the least ink when printing, special ink.)
If you are concerned about additional costs, think about partnering with local printers to, once again, support local entrepreneurs. Finally, favour evergreen content (i.e. avoid dates, programme, edition, etc.) on any material that you would like to use again. You will save money on future editions and the planet will thank you.
Communicating on your green actions also means you will encourage responsible behaviour at your event from an environmentally-mindful audience.
Build awareness and educate
…in addition to communicating on your commitments and actions. You can be a role model for your attendees by organising a clear recycling scheme for all waste, allocating a “green team” of volunteers near the recycling area to help people out and check that all waste is put in the right bin or hand out pocket ashtrays. This could impact their everyday behaviour and may give them good ideas when they organise their own events. Finally, think about inviting environmental charities as partners to set-up booths to increase awareness about these issues and communicate on local green actions.
Creating a green event may require some extra effort, but these 4 ideas are a starting point to maximise your positive impact. Making your event environmentally-friendly means making a commitment to the neighbourhood and local stakeholders – making them also environmentally-friendly – to protect the area and create awareness about the environment. Your event will benefit from this positive image. Obviously change is slow but in the long term everyone can easily reduce their event’s footprint and who knows perhaps reach “zero impact”.
Ready to plan your own eco-friendly event? Start now with Weezevent: