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  • Writer's pictureKaren Edwards

In the world of events, what sustainable practices are we implementing?!

Using the right materials to increase sustainability in events

As a freelance events professional, I work on a variety of different types of events across various sectors. All the events I have been working on are keen to find ways to implement more practices for sustainability in events. I want to share a few of the best ones I have come across this year:

Plain and unbranded lanyards

We all know that sponsorship is key for any event, and the lanyard sponsor is often the most sought after. The problem with this is materials, production, delivery, cost and waste. The item is a single use. Unless the event has the same sponsor year on year, the lanyard will go to waste, and ultimately to landfill (unless you have invested in bamboo lanyards*)

Keeping your lanyard plain and unbranded means that you can use them on every event.

*bamboo is a readily available fast growing plant, so it’s a better material to use than a plastic based material.

Print in advance badges

Printing your badges in advance does put more pressure on the registration team to get all delegates, sponsors, exhibitors names in advance, but if you can do this, a professional registration company can print badges for you. You can choose the badge paper quality, understand the print process and have the bulk of the printing done for you.

This could be more cost effective process.

Gone are the days of printing reams of incorrect badges out, just to make sure that the text is in the right place, the right size etc…

Well done to ADP for removing the headache of badges and registration!

Getting rid of plastic badge holders

This is definitely controversial! We all like our badges to be well presented when we are wearing them. Not having a plastic wallet means that badges get damaged, crumpled, ripped! This is a small price to pay for not using 100s of plastic wallets that do get thrown in the bin and will not all be recycled.

By using badges printed simply on card/ paper it means they can be easily recycled, rather than the hard plastic clip style badges or any form of sticker.

Well done to The Meetings Show for doing this!

Moving event details onto an App or a WebApp

Most of us have a smart phone and use it daily. Migrating elements of an event to an App or WebApp shouldn’t change the user experience. In fact, it should make the process smoother (for most people). The App or WebApp is at your fingertips, a good one is intuitive, straightforward and has only the details on that you need.

Delegates, Exhibitors, Sponsors can find what they need pre-show, at the show, and after the show (for as long as the tech is ‘live’).

By using an App or WebApp, you would be cutting down print material on site; no show guide/ information guide, no promotional flyers or materials, no business cards, and a central place for registration and networking.

Well done to Plantworx 2023 for taking the plunge and developing a Show WebApp.

sustainability in events - using refillable water bottles

Bringing own refillable water bottles on site

This is an obvious one, as most people carry around their own refillable water bottle! We have now been trained that this is the best thing to do! If you do want to encourage your delegates to bring their own water bottles, make sure your COMMUNCATE this. In advance, send out a plan highlighting where the stations are.

(image courtesy of Zoe Cahalan)

Vegan/ Vegetarian Menu choices

Food is one of the most important elements of an event – it is the thing that everyone remembers! Why not take the plunge and have meat-free menu. It’s healthier, planet friendly and taste delicious. It will definitely be a talking point at the event!

(images courtesy of ADP Event, May 2023 at the Hilton Waldorf, London)

I am sure that none of these practices are new to you, as events professionals we are seeing more and more clients embracing the change and implementing more sustainable practices.

It takes time and energy to change an event and the thinking of the planning team and attendees, but these few practices show that we (all of us) are willing to make the change… and embrace change.

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