Sustainability is not the same as “green” or “eco-friendly”
The United Nations Brundtland Commission defines sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
The terms “green” and “eco-friendly” refer to products or practices that won’t harm the environment.
What’s the difference? Sustainability is about balancing environmental, social, and economic concerns so that our planet can continue to support us all. Being eco-friendly or green is specifically about making choices or using products that won’t negatively affect the earth.
Why plan a sustainable event
“More consumers are also being more proactive in their pursuit of adopting a more sustainable lifestyle, whether by choosing brands that have ethical or environmentally sustainable practices and values or by no longer purchasing certain products because they have concerns around the brand’s ethical or sustainability practices or values.”
How to make your event more sustainable
Use less plastic
“Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated)…Americans purchase about 50 billion water bottles per year, averaging about 13 bottles per month for every person in the U.S.! That means by using a reusable water bottle, you could save an average of 156 plastic bottles annually.”
To reduce the amount of bottled water at your event, you could:
- Create a water station and encourage guests to bring their own refillable bottles.
- Refrain from selling plastic bottled water.
- Use biodegradable or compostable options.
- Take plastic straws completely out of the equation.
Create a sustainability policy
Reduce food waste
There are many ways to cut down on wasted food at your event, such as donating leftover food to shelters or composting. Read through Further With Food’s Toolkit for Food Waste-Free Events for detailed information on the steps you can take.
Choose environmentally friendly venues and vendors
To encourage guests to leave their cars at home, try to choose a venue close to public transportation.
Host a hybrid event
Sustainable event management takeaways
For more sustainable event planning tips, check out our article, Event Ticket Printing + Sustainability and How to Organize Attendees and Reduce Waste.