Sustainability is an event planning trend that does not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, this trend seems to be growing as more organizations take further actions to lessen the impact of their event on the world. At the heart of it, sustainability practices are simple measures that benefit everyone. The organizations themselves, attendees, and the world all win when an event is more sustainable. In recent times organizations have begun to work sustainability measures into event planning and charters. This has helped drive new efforts in event planning like venues and eliminating single-use products. It has also lead to innovations in technology that create more conscious practices.
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Event Planning By Example
One of the largest event planners in the world, Live Nation committed to the same major environmental goals in May 2019. Their four-page document “Empowering the Earth: Live Nation Environmental Sustainability Charter” set forth some lofty goals. For example, their event planning includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. Another major target the company set forth is to eliminate all single-use plastic at venues and events by 2021.
“Hosting over 35,000 concerts and festivals each year, Live Nation has the opportunity and responsibility to provide our artists and fans with a live music experience that protects our planet,” said Michael Rapino, President and CEO, Live Nation Entertainment said in a press release. “The adverse effects of climate change are undeniable, and we want to use our place on the world stage to be part of the solution. Together with our concerts, venues, festivals, and offices around the world are setting new sustainability standards for live events.”
As mentioned, Live Nation is committing to eradicating single-use plastic but more can be done. Taking this one step further, events can add-in programs that completely phase out any single-use products. Festivals like Envision in Costa Rica achieve this via their dish rental system. For a $3 fee, guests can rent a cup, plate, and silverware for the duration of the event. They receive the items when they purchase food or drinks from a vendor. Then once they are done they return them to a dishwashing station. This is where a team of festival staff will clean it for the guests. They then give the patron a ticket to use the next time they need dishware. This program allows an easy way for guests and vendors to eliminate single-use items.
Technology Aiding Sustainability
Whether you are a major music festival or a county fair, there is no reason in the modern day to print anything on paper. There are so many digital alternatives when it comes to disseminating information about an event. Whether it is through a website, emails, social media, or other digital avenues there are many non-paper ways to communicate with future attendees. During the event, these channels should also be used in addition to digital screens and other advanced displays on-site.
Another way to reduce the footprint caused by those traveling to the event is to offer more virtual components. In a previous article, we discussed festivals implementing live streaming and some races like the North Olympic Discover Marathon offering a “VIRTUAL 5K / 10K / Half Marathon” (read more here). This is not only a way to cut down on carbon emissions, but it can also open up a new revenue stream for an event.
Overall, the key to improving sustainability efforts in event planning is to start by making it a priority. Whether it be through a formal charter or just simply choosing post an event flyer online rather than printing it, events can take easily take steps to be more eco-conscious.