Green Events

Most event organisers these days have a personal interest in ensuring their events are as environmentally friendly as possible, in short making them green events.  The smallest thing, such as preparing online packs, or using recycled paper, can make a difference to the health of our planet.  Although green issues add value to our brand, it’s often a worry that it will also add additional expense and time to any project.

As the job of an event manager is in the top 5 of the most stressful jobs on the planet (source:  forbes), asking you to add yet another task to your project plan can go down really badly!

However, by focussing on the continual improvement of your customer experience and looking for cost efficiencies as much as possible, you’ll be able to factor in environmental sustainability as part of continual improvement.

Will it cost a lot of money?

Some measures may involve an initial investment; many more are just about simple planning, but with your eye on the prize – sustainability!   Start simple and work your way up.

Where to start...

Consider the following to help reduce the impact of your events on our beautiful world:

Specify Green Objectives

  • What are your aims?
  • Write out your main objectives – what will success look like to you? Use separate headings if there are multiple targets – eg. Increase recycling to 75% is one target, whereas reducing power consumption by 10% is another

Define responsibility

  • Nominate an individual to be responsible for each aspect of the plan for your green events
  • Start building environmental sustainability into your existing event templates and project plans

Set timelines

  • Set realistic targets
  • Create milestones – and give yourself a reward (environmentally friendly of course!)

Create action plan

  • What action do you plan to take to achieve your targets?
  • How will you manage your suppliers?

Measure Success

  • What are your measurements of success?
  • What will you measure and how?


  • How will you market your successes to your public – guests and colleagues
  • How will you feedback the achievements to suppliers who were involved in your event and who delivered the service?

Four Steps to Success

1. Work out your impact

Before you try to improve things, consider what impact your event is already having on the environment. Does everyone drive to the venue? Would it be more efficient for guests to car share or arrange one coach for everyone? When you’re time precious, rather than try and address all impacts together, break them down into manageable chunks – you could concentrate on one impact a year. The key impact areas for events are the following:

  • Audience travel
  • Staff/Supplier travel
  • Energy
  • Food & Drink
  • Waste
  • Production and Purchasing

Try ranking the above impacts in order of importance to you and your business and then start working through them in order.

2. Make a plan

As event managers know, planning is key. Once you’ve identified the impacts, set yourself realistic targets – failure is usually because goals are set unrealistically.
Allocate the right person for the job; someone too senior may overlook things, and someone too junior may not have enough influence to encourage change.
Create milestones by asking “What, When, How and Who” eg:

  • Impact: Waste
  • What: reduce the amount of paper used in Offsite Meetings
  • When: by end October 2018
  • How: speak to IT about creating online note taking system/prepare meeting papers electronically
  • Who: Project Manager, IT Team, Venue

This example can be extended into further detail – ie “reduce paper use by 25% in our Offsite Meetings by end October 2018, by working with IT to find an online solution. The PM will work with the IT Team and the Venue to co-ordinate this, and the measurement of success will to be paperfree by October 2020.”

3. Let suppliers do the work

Delegating tasks to your colleagues can lighten the load, however if you pass them onto your suppliers then this can free up time for your team.

The best time to get supplier buy in is at the point of contracting: they will really think outside the box to look better than a competitor, so make it clear on your RFP that a key decision point will be their recommendations on reducing environmental impacts.

4. Start simple

Change is often challenging: start simple and introduce small changes gradually. This will allow your audience to grow with you and be more conscientious on their own impact on the planet and how they can help create a sustainable event.

You may even find they’re giving you suggestions for ways to save our world – and that has to be a good thing!

Start going green

For further information and support on going green with your events, contact Globe. We’d be delighted to talk to you further about how we can help you achieve your sustainability objectives.

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