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26 June 2023

Event planners guide: Building sustainability into a global event

As the world becomes increasingly aware of humans' impact on the environment, the importance of sustainability cannot be overstated. And the events industry, in particular, has a significant role to play in reducing its environmental impact.  
From small, intimate meetings and incentive trips to large-scale conferences and festivals that bring thousands of people together from around the world, events have the potential to generate a significant amount of waste and carbon emissions. However, by building sustainability into every aspect of event planning and execution, event planners can reduce their impact on the environment and set a positive example for others to follow. 

In recent years, there has been a growing demand for sustainable events that minimize their impact on the planet. Therefore, it is essential that, as event professionals, we take a more holistic approach to organising events by incorporating sustainable practices into our planning and execution. 

In this blog, we will explore how to build sustainability into a global event. From choosing the right venue and suppliers to reducing waste and carbon emissions, we will provide practical tips and insights for planning an event that is both successful and sustainable. 


What does sustainability mean? 

At its core, sustainability refers to the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  
In the context of the events industry, this means considering the environmental, social, and economic impact of events and taking steps to minimize their negative effects. This includes reducing waste and carbon emissions, supporting local economies, and promoting social responsibility. Furthermore, by incorporating sustainable practices into event planning and execution, event planners can create events that benefit not only attendees but also the planet and future generations. 

Additionally, incorporating sustainable practices helps support the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a set of 17 goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. 

The events industry has the potential to contribute to many of the SDGs, including: 

  1. Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy - By choosing venues and suppliers that use renewable energy sources, events can help to promote affordable and clean energy. 

  1. Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth - By supporting local suppliers and creating job opportunities, events can help to promote decent work and economic growth. 

  1. Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production - By reducing waste and promoting sustainable practices, events can help to promote responsible consumption and production. 

  1. Goal 13: Climate Action - By reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable practices, events can help to contribute to global efforts to address climate change. 

  1. Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals - By collaborating with stakeholders from different sectors, events can help promote SDG partnerships and foster greater awareness and action towards achieving the goals. 

Therefore, adopting sustainable practices can strongly contribute to the achievement of the SDGs, making it an important step towards a more sustainable and equitable future for all. 



Building sustainability into a global event 

Tip 1 - Choose the Right Venue 

Selecting the right venue is crucial for building sustainability in an event. The choice of venue can significantly impact the carbon footprint and waste generated by an event. Therefore, when choosing a venue, it is essential to consider its environmental credentials, such as energy efficiency, water usage, and waste management practices. 

Selecting a venue that is easily accessible by public transportation or within walking distance can also help to reduce the event's carbon footprint.  

Another aspect to consider is the local community and economy. Selecting a hotel that supports local suppliers and services can help to boost the local economy and reduce the carbon footprint associated with transporting goods and services.  

In addition to considering the venue's environmental credentials, accessibility, and commitment to sustainability, event planners can also look for venues that hold a recognized green certificate or any sustainability accreditation, which provides independent verification that the venue has taken steps to reduce its environmental impact. Some examples of green certificates include the ISO 20121, Green Key, and the GSTC Industry Criteria.  

Choosing a venue with a recognized green certificate not only ensures that the property has met a certain standard of environmental sustainability, but it can also help to promote the event's sustainability credentials to attendees and stakeholders.  


Tip 2 - Choose Sustainable Suppliers 

Event planners rely on various suppliers to help execute their events, from caterers and florists to AV companies and transportation providers. Therefore, selecting sustainable suppliers is essential in building sustainability into an event.  

It is not just about the environmental impact of the products and services but also about the social and ethical considerations that come with them. Working with sustainable suppliers can help reduce the event's carbon footprint and ensure that the event positively impacts society. 

Therefore, when choosing suppliers, consider their environmental practices and policies. This includes their energy and resource efficiency, waste reduction strategies, and sustainable sourcing. For example, a catering supplier that uses locally sourced, organic produce can significantly reduce the event's carbon footprint by minimizing transportation emissions and supporting sustainable agriculture. 

Collaborating with sustainable suppliers can provide innovative opportunities and create unique, eco-friendly solutions. For example, working with a furniture supplier that uses recycled materials to create stylish and functional seating can help to reduce waste and contribute to a more circular economy. 

Furthermore, working with local artisans and small businesses can provide unique and authentic products and services that align with the event's sustainability goals.  
At TERRAEVENTS, we understand the importance of selecting authentic local suppliers for our events, even if they are small or do not have a large business. By working with them, we can support the local community, promote sustainable practices, and create memorable and unique events for our clients. 


Tip 3 - Reduce Waste 

Reducing waste is one of the most effective ways to build sustainability into an event. By reducing the amount of waste generated, you can significantly reduce the environmental impact of a meeting or event. Here are some tips for reducing waste: 

  1. Reusable Materials: Use reusable materials such as dishes, cups, and cutlery instead of disposable items. 

  1. Recycling and Composting: Provide recycling and composting bins throughout the event space to encourage attendees to dispose of their waste correctly. 

  1. Donate Food: Instead of throwing away excess food, donate it to a local charity or food bank. 

  1. Digital Materials: Use digital materials such as event apps and online schedules to reduce the need for paper materials. 


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Tip 4 - Reduce Carbon Emissions 

Reducing carbon emissions is a crucial step in building sustainability in an event, and there are various strategies event planners can employ to achieve this goal. 

One strategy is to reduce energy consumption. Event planners can use energy-efficient lighting, heating, and cooling systems to lower the amount of energy used during the event, reducing the carbon footprint. For example, LED lights can reduce energy consumption by up to 75%. 

Another way to reduce carbon emissions is to minimize transportation, by encouraging attendees to use public transportation or providing shuttle services to reduce the number of cars on the road. Selecting a venue that is easily accessible by public transport or within walking distance can also contribute to this effort. 

Another way to reduce carbon emissions is to balance them out by planting trees. Planting trees can help to offset the carbon emissions generated by an event, making it a more sustainable option. For instance, TERRAEVENTS has partnered with Treedom, the only platform in the world where you can plant a tree and follow its growth online, intending to plant 3000 trees over the next three years. 
By working with such companies, event planners can not only offset the carbon emissions of their events but also contribute to reforestation efforts globally. This way, events can become more sustainable and positively impact the environment. 


Tip 5 - Promote green practices among attendees 

Promoting eco-friendly practices among attendees is an essential step in building sustainability into an event. Educating attendees about sustainable practices can help create a culture of environmental consciousness and encourage individuals to adopt sustainable practices daily. 

One way to promote green practices is by providing water refill stations instead of single-use plastic bottles. Single-use plastic bottles are one of the major sources of plastic waste that end up in oceans and landfills, causing harm to the environment. Providing water refill stations not only reduces plastic waste but also saves costs associated with purchasing and disposing of single-use plastic bottles. 

Event planners can also provide recycling bins and composting stations at the event and encourage attendees to dispose of waste properly. Recycling and composting help to divert waste from landfills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to a more sustainable future. 

In addition to providing eco-friendly alternatives, organizers can educate attendees about sustainable practices such as reducing energy consumption, conserving water, and using public transportation or carpooling. This can help to raise awareness and inspire individuals to take action towards a sustainable future. 



In conclusion, building sustainability into a global event is essential in today's world, where environmental concerns are more pressing than ever.  

Event planners can take various steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their events, including choosing a sustainable venue, working with sustainable suppliers, reducing carbon emissions, promoting eco-friendly practices among attendees, and balancing carbon emissions through tree-planting initiatives.  
By implementing these measures, event planners like TERRAEVENTS can create a more sustainable future for all.  

So, if you want to start planning a greener event, the TERRAEVENTS team is at your disposal. Contact us today! 

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