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Sustainability: The secret ingredient for successful events

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Organisations and event organisers are now required to recognise the environmental impact of their events and implement sustainable practices across all areas if they want their events to be considered successful and to win over delegates.

Failing to address sustainability, or simply neglecting it, can result in terrible repercussions and leave delegates with a negative perception of your organisation - completely undoing the hard work put in to creating your event.

While many event organisers are recognising that adopting sustainable practices is the morally correct and practical thing to do, there are still some lingering perceptions that implementing sustainability into your events is both costly and detrimental the business.

However, hosting a sustainable event is much more than just showcasing your organisation's morality to your delegates, it can also be used as a strategic tool to positively impact your event’s success.

Here are five reasons why implementing sustainable business practices into your event is beneficial for your organisation, and tips on how to make your event more sustainable.

1. Helps meet expectations

People are now more aware than ever of the social impacts associated with their purchases, and the organisations they purchase from.

A study conducted by NielsenIQ found that 46% of consumers are looking to brands to take the lead on creating sustainable change, and a further study showed that 66% of consumers are willing to pay extra for products and services offered by companies that prioritise environmental practices.

In accordance with this data, organisations that demonstrate their dedication to sustainability can also see a boost in customer loyalty and an increase in profits - highlighting just how important the perception of sustainability currently is to the general public.

2. Avoids any potential legal or social repercussions

With governments worldwide tightening regulations and imposing reporting requirements, event organisers that neglect integrating sustainable practices into their operations may face legal consequences such as fines, or in extreme cases, lawsuits.

This means that in some cases, event organisers must adopt sustainable practises to uphold legal commitments, or risk their revenue and reputation irreparably harmed by government fines and social media backlash.

3. Reduces costs

If you are hosting the event at your own venue, implementing sustainable practices such as investing in renewable energy can eventually lead to lower energy expenses while simultaneously reducing your organisation's carbon footprint.

Additionally, by reusing items where applicable, you help to cut out additional expenditure which could be used elsewhere for the business.

4. Resonates with Millennials and Gen-Z

Millennials and Generation Z are now a fully integrated and key part of the modern workforce and can be expected to be in attendance at your events.

Typically, they are very environmentally focused, and prioritise aligning themselves with organisations that share their values .

Event organisers that can demonstrate their commitment to helping the environment make their organisation and brand much more appealing to the younger generation of professionals.

5. Creates a positive brand identity

By highlighting your organisation's efforts to minimise the environmental impact of their events, you can create a strong brand identity and position yourself an ethical and moral organisation.

Doing so will improve your brand's reputation, while also presenting yourself as the ‘ethical’ option against your competitors.

How to make your event more sustainable

  • Choose the right venue: Find for a venue that promotes sustainable values such as using energy-efficient facilities and ethical food sourcing. While you may not be directly responsible for the sustainability choices of your venue, by selecting them to host your event, you are associating your brand with theirs and indirectly contributing to any environmental mishaps that they are responsible for. Choose an ethical venue to avoid any potential backlash.

  • Minimise paper: Using large amounts of paper when it’s not needed is one of the most noticeable (and costly) unsustainable practices. Cut out paper where possible in your event and instead use digital invitations, registrations, and event programmes.

  • Provide ethical catering: Collaborate with caterers who prioritise locally sourced, organic, and sustainable ingredients. Make sure to also include reusable plates and utensils and an absolute minimal use of single-use plastics to be both environmentally friendly and save money.

  • Encourage proper waste disposal: Provide clearly labelled recycling and waste bins throughout the event space and encourage attendees to dispose their waste responsibly.

  • Highlight alternative transportation options: Make sure your chosen venue is easily accessible, and encourage attendees to use public transportation, car share, or cycle to your event. Be sure to provide information about nearby public transportation options and bike parking facilities in your pre-event messaging and encourage eco-friendly transportation to your delegates.

  • Promote virtual attendance: Offer virtual attendance as an option for those who cannot be physically present and to cut down on emissions on those who would be travelling in. Use livestreams, webinars, and online networking platforms to connect with delegates remotely while simultaneously expanding your event’s reach.

  • Raise awareness: Use the event as an opportunity to encourage attendees to implement sustainable practices while also using it as an avenue to promote your own - which will hopefully encourage delegates and other attending organisations to do the same in the future.

By implementing sustainable practices to your event, you can make a real difference to delegates’ perceptions of your organisation, improve the likelihood of your event’s success and ultimately, improve the world that we live in.

For more information on how you can be supported in making your event sustainable, get in touch with a member of our team for an informal conversation at or call us on +44 (0)24 7652 3222.

Gail Tomlinson-ShortGail Tomlinson-Short

Gail has over 20 years of experience within the events services industry at Warwick Conferences, developing strong business relationships through a consultative sales approach. Primarily specialising in the automotive, construction, logistics and manufacturing sectors.

Gail dot Tomlinson-Short at warwick dot ac dot uk

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