June 18, 2024 5:53 AM
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5 Eco-Conscious Event Planning Tips

How to Make an Impact While Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

by Carter Dunham, VP, Sales & Business Development, Association & Exhibits, PRG


Sustainability, while not new to the events industry, has become much more prevalent within the business due to a demand from corporations and government entities who are aiming to meet sustainability goals. With this increased demand, and their own commitment to a more planet-friendly approach to production, event professionals are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a better future, while still making an impact. Outlined below are several important factors to keep in mind in order to be eco-conscious.

Have a Plan

Having a vision of what you want to achieve is just as important in sustainability as in other aspects of your events. As an organization, it is important for you and your team to understand your sustainability goals. These plans can help guide everything from the reduction of wasteful materials, to how energy usage is managed throughout the event. It’s important to include your supplier partners in the elements of your plan as well.

Activate Your Plan

If people are not aware of your plan, it will not be effective.  So, educate your staff, partners, and other stakeholders about your sustainability roadmap and the goals you want to achieve, encouraging more eco-conscious behavior pre-event and on-the-ground. Provide these players with information about the steps you’re taking to create a sustainable event and ask them to help support you in your efforts. Additionally, do not be afraid to share your goals with potential partners during the RFP process so they can provide you with a proposal that fits your needs.

Incorporate Sustainable Design & Practice Responsible Resource Management

We often think about sustainability in the logistics process, but it is just as important to think about this early in the design. The design of your event is probably one of the largest contributors to your sustainability impact. Spend time determining the types of décor and scenic pieces you will use. Consider using sustainable or recycled materials. Specify more eco-conscious production elements for your event, such as LED lighting or non-lamp-based video projection.

Another crucial step in organizing a sustainable event is to practice responsible resource management. This includes minimizing waste and reconsidering the type of swag you bring to your event. The biggest takeaway is understanding where resources are coming from. Event professionals should ask partners to provide more eco-friendly options and ask them to source locally when possible.

PRG’s dynamic team of technical production experts is committed to utilizing locally sourced, reusable, and recyclable materials, aiming to achieve a carbon-neutral or even negative carbon footprint whenever feasible. For a recent environmentally conscious client, we even planted 10,000 trees to help offset an event’s carbon footprint! This is a good example of how partners can find creative ways to meet planners’ sustainability goals.

Keep it Simple

We often start to think about the big picture when thinking about sustainability; you are not going to eliminate your entire carbon footprint in a single event. Try to address a specific item or area within your event where it can be more ‘green.’ For example, can you reduce your overall energy usage by turning off equipment when not in use, or by utilizing equipment with lower energy consumption? Are you providing materials to all your staff, partners and attendees in a way that is easily consumed on digital devices?

Measure, Evaluate, and Update

Making sustainability a priority throughout all stages of the event from planning to post event is critical. Place it at the core of your company’s values to ensure it’s always at the forefront of your mind when you are working on your events. Track and measure your impact to assess where your event can improve and examine the eco-friendliness of the choices you made. When we measure things, we begin to understand what is successful and what maybe needs to be re-evaluated. Then apply those learnings back to your plan!

By prioritizing sustainability, event organizers can show that they lead in incorporating ‘green’ initiatives to others in the industry and keep the conversation going. Incorporating sustainable practices into event planning is not only essential in minimizing the environmental impact, but it’s also a smart business move. More and more event producers and exhibitors are looking to work with eco-friendly partners, and by being one, you’ll increase your value and earn loyalty.

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