For exhibit and event professionals  

How to Become a More Sustainable Event Planner

October 5, 2018 By Editor

sustainable events

Going green is often the last thing you want to happen when you are preparing for an event. After all, this is typically the sign of a very ill individual. Yet going green is becoming more and more important among eco-conscious attendees. In fact, unlike an illness, you are going to want to go green if you hope to stay ahead of your competitors hosting green events. According to Forbes, the top sustainable brands in the U.S. are Cisco Systems, Johnson & Johnson, and McCormick & Co. If you work with green brands like these, you’d better learn how to excel in sustainable event planning.

Eco-Friendly Venues

When you are planning an event from the ground up, note that there are plenty of eco-friendly venues now available in major cities. How do you find these facilities? Look for LEED-certified resorts, hotels, buildings and facilities. A Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED certified building has met the world’s strictest requirements for green buildings. LEED buildings use less energy and water, generate less waste, and are overall more sustainable.

Examples include the LEED-certified Aria Resort and Casino is Las Vegas; JW Marriott Marquis Miami; and Moscone Center in San Francisco. Portland, Oregon is home to the Oregon Convention Center, while the Lied Lodge and Conference Center in Nebraska City, Nebraska are both LEED certified. If you are heading north for an event, Canada’s Quebec City Convention Center is the first LEED certified building in Canada. LEED buildings are found worldwide. By choosing a LEED certified venue, you automatically secure the greenest event location available.

Start with Sustainable Materials

In terms of setting up the exhibit space, as a sustainable event planner, you will need to rethink the way you handle materials. The three main areas to focus on with sustainable events include reducing, reusing and disposing of resources properly. To go green, start with your list of exhibit materials allowed during the event. Whereas you would generally allow paper flyers and plastic promotional swag, for a green event this is not acceptable.

Consider more sustainable options and provide these alternatives to attendees. For example, instead of printing one thousand brochures that will ultimately end up in the bin for most attendees, post your content to a microsite. When it comes to swag, encourage attendees to focus on quality, not the quantity. Rather than giving out generic, boring swag made from non-recyclable materials, stick with one or two stand-out green-friendly items.

Give yourself bonus points for replacing any major swag with a more sustainable version. An example is to replace standard tote bags given to all attendees with totes using 100 percent recycled material and vegetable ink for dyes. After all, all the materials you promote at your event will automatically position your company as a sustainable place to do business.

Growing with Green Planning

While it may sound expensive to get started with sustainable event planning, in the long run, there are significant savings to society at large. For example, while you may spend a little more on sustainable tote bags for attendees, the green environmental message will be an investment in your personal brand as an eco-conscious event planner.

The Balance Small Business highlights how going green for events can actually save you money. For event planners who reuse name badges for each event for 1,300 badges saves nearly $1,000. Multiply this according to the number of events you have planned for 2019 to see just how much money you can save by going green with badging alone.

Want to learn more about the best advice for event and exhibit professionals? Check out the eConnections Digest for events and meetings news.


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