There are loads of ways you can reduce the environmental impact of your conference, from choosing the right venue, food and drink to the way you communicate with your delegates. There will be lots of different pressures and areas of concern throughout planning, but if you can ‘think green’ at every step of the way, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make a real difference. (It could even save you money, too…)
Choosing your location is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make when organising a conference and there are a few factors to consider when weighing up the environmental issues. Is it near your main body of delegates? The closer your audience, the less the distance attendees will need to travel, therefore the kinder it will be on the planet. It’s also important to find out how well your venue is connected to public transport. Make sure you communicate all these findings with your guests to help reduce the number of taxis used to and from your event. Maybe you could even lay on free rickshaws if the walk is too much for some visitors?
Be kind to trees
E-vites and follow up phone calls will be just as effective in getting people to your event as postal invitations. As well as saving on paper usage, this approach is also great from a budget perspective. If appropriate, talk to your speakers about banning handouts. You could ask them to send out any notes electronically after the conference. Similarly, any follow-up marketing could be switched from hard copy to email.
Waste not want not
Bad for the pocket and planet, excess food and drink is one of the conference industry’s biggest green issues. Re-confirming RSVPs a day or two before the event is a good way to ensure you aren’t catering for no-shows. Jugs of tap water, cordial and other soft drinks means less empty bottles going off to landfill. Speak to your venue and ask what they do with leftover buffet food, does it go to a local charity? Is it recycled?
What’s in a name?
From sustainable bamboo lanyards to cellulose-based, biodegradable badges, there are lots of ways you can make a greener choice with name tags. If you are using plastic covers, make sure someone from your team has the designated job of collecting them in at the end of the event so they can be re-used.
Frills and foliage
If you’re branding or dressing your space, try and create graphics that can be re-used, recycled or even better, projected onto the walls, saving materials, time and money. Hiring or borrowing potted plants, trees and shrubs is kinder to the environment than buying in cut flowers. It might be worth looking at a venue with outdoor space, or particularly beautiful interiors so you can keep your decorations to a minimum.
Shout about it
Telling guests, suppliers and the rest of the world about your green credentials is a really important part of the plan. As well as letting everyone appreciate your efforts, it makes others realise how easy it is to hold greener conferences. Any helpful advice you can pass onto your attendees will also be well received.
No.11 Cavendish Square’s green credentials
We take our environmental responsibilities seriously and have been recognised for our efforts by receiving a Carbon Smart Gold Accreditation, a Silver Accreditation in The Green Business Tourism Scheme and we are approved by The Red Tractor Scheme. To get the full details about our waste, recycling and best practice standards which have led to these accolades, take a look at the environmental policy page.