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April 28, 2022 Audrey Kearns

Producing Sustainable Events

Uncomplicated Ways to Make an Impact

At BeEvents, we are hyper-aware of the environmental impact of the events industry. Events are created for the moment, and once the moment is over, where does it all go? The truth is a lot of it goes to waste, but now more than ever is the time to change that! We are dedicated to producing more sustainable events to make a positive impact on our carbon footprint.

Over the past two years the world was digitally focused, events swiftly moved from in person to online. The environmental impact of this pivot was very positive. Now as we go back into producing live events, we’re compelled to be more conscientious about the impact that events have and how to make them more sustainable in practice.

Here are some impactful ways to take action and produce events more sustainably.

Select Green Alternatives

For every product, there is an equally comparable, more eco-friendly alternative. Opting for these greener options will reduce the environmental impact of the event’s production. For example, consider LED lighting over fluorescent lighting or using glassware instead of plastic cups. Small changes go a long way.

Pro-Tip: Floral arrangements are so common in event design and happen to be one of the easiest places to make this change. When planning floral designs, shop local instead of shipping in florals from different countries. Check to see which varieties are in season [hint: tulips in spring and spruce tips in the winter]. Rethink your centerpieces, instead of using floral arrangements, use distinctive decor pieces, or rented and reusable decor like candles or tiered stands. Or get creative with handcrafted ‘flowers’ made from paper, felt or even wood, they last longer and can be easily reused.  

Rethink Signage

One of the biggest culprits of single use waste at events is signage. Although signage is useful, it typically stacks up in the garbage right after the event is complete. This is mainly because signs are created by materials that don’t recycle easily. Choosing to do digital signage instead of printed signs is one of our favorite eco-friendly ways to make an impact. Another option is to use signage that can be recycled. 

Pro-Tip: When possible, put up a tablet or TV screen with graphics in lieu of a printed sign. Send digital invitations and updates to attendees. Take advantage of QR codes – everyone has a phone on them, a quick scan is all they need. When you reduce the amount of signage, waste will instantly dwindle!

Align with Sustainable Vendors

Purchasing decisions influence environmental impact. Supporting vendors that are in alignment with your sustainability mission is a significant way to decrease your carbon footprint. Consider the sustainability efforts of your venue, caterer, creative partner, public speaker, etc. Also check with your raw material vendors to see how they are practicing sustainability. With the amount of options available, there is bound to be a green option: organic, made from recycled material, locally-sourced, the list goes on. 

Pro-Tip: Vetting vendors prior to building a relationship is crucial. Ask them how they are making sustainable decisions in their business and compare that to your company’s goals. Some thoughtful questions to ask include: do they have ethical sourcing practices, what raw materials they use, how goods are packaged, where they shipped from, how they manage waste, their energy consumption efforts, etc. Transparency is key in forming a sustainable partnership.

Repurpose Elements

Not everything has to be one and done, extend the lifetime of reusable elements! Events are full of stunning decorations and visual eye-candy, these elements don’t have to go to the trash immediately after the event is over. Consider reusing these elements at future events or in different locations, like the office lobby. Reusing elements cuts down on the waste cycle and is also a great way to save some money along the way!

Pro-Tip: Backdrops, signage and event artwork can all be easily designed to use after the event, removing event specific terminology will increase their reusability. Other potentially wasteful items include floral arrangements and extra food. Although you can’t technically reuse them, there are always places that would greatly benefit from these items. Try a local shelter or food banks, or have your attendees take some home to enjoy! 

Producing a more sustainable event doesn’t have to be complicated. These are just some of the many ways that we can make an impact in the sustainability of the events industry. Are you more interested in the BeEvents Sustainability, Inclusion + Safety pledge? Contact us to learn more!