In the events industry, sustainability may not always be the first thing that comes to mind when organizing the next corporate get-together. However, there are some serious considerations that should be taken into account throughout the planning process. Setting sustainable development goals for your team not only has a positive impact on the environment but can save you money in the long run as well.
The official Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were created in 2015 by the United Nations. These goals are a call to action for governments and corporations to end poverty and promote sustainable operations into 2030.
While it may seem like a tall order now, there are measured steps that can be taken that will positively impact companies and the planet at the same time. Let’s take a deeper look at what the meetings and events industry can do to manage sustainable development goals for corporate meetings and events.
Climate action items
The host of an event or meeting should always consider the impact that holding a get-together will have on the climate. The first thing that should be done is to execute a test of the baseline carbon impact of the event. This means that you will have a complete understanding of what the occasion will look like without any adjustments. From there, the team can make some adjustments to become more climate-friendly.
An example of utilizing climate action items can be seen at venues that offset the energy consumption of an event by buying Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). RECs are essentially a non-tangible certificate that proves that the event generated one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity from clean sources. Strive to obtain affordable and clean energy sources. Some venues offer this as an option. While it may come at an increased rental fee, you can look for sponsors to help support this effort.
Food and catering
Many events elevate their attendee’s experience by offering lunch or other food options. This is another great opportunity to work towards more sustainable development goals. For example, any seafood served to guests should follow the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch standards. As the Seafood Watch puts it, “Knowing the details of how and where your seafood is harvested is key to protecting our ocean and ensuring a long-term supply of seafood.”
Another route to achieving more sustainable food choices is to offer more vegan and vegetarian options. Not only is this extremely important for lowering environmental impact, but the event will also become more inclusive to those who are attending. Your business can save money and host a more sustainable event by reducing disposable products like plastic straws and other one-time-use items used for food.
It is a natural side effect of holding an event that the production and consumption will result in some level of waste. Here, we can minimize environmental impact in a way that can also lower the cost of organizing the meeting. For example, it is important to offer recycling options that are easy for the guests to access.
Your event can also reduce the amount of paper waste that it produces by creating materials that are easily accessible for attendees. This could be providing digital itineraries and PDF documents when required throughout the meeting. Without the need to print hundreds of physical copies, your team saves time and money. A massive source of waste can be the swag that you pass out to the guests. Try your best to avoid plastic items with low reusability. Instead, opt for eco-friendly prizes that offer true utility to the receiver.
Working as a team to create a more inclusive environment for the event can be extremely beneficial to the attendees and the company. A great example of striving for equality in the meeting setting is to ensure gender balance on speaking panels and in leadership. At the venue, provide nursing mom pods for any attendees who may need that service offered. The goal is to take all measures possible to make the people who are guests at the event feel safe and welcomed.
Consider all the different communities who may be present and offer them ways to connect with each other in order to feel more represented. In addition, your event should include closed captions for audio in videos as well as American Sign Language interpreters for speaking events. This will remove any potential barriers for people who are deaf to participate in the meeting.
Select green event venues
Think about hosting your event at a clean venue. A green location can make a big difference in the gathering’s environmental impact. For example, choosing a site that is close to the hotel where attendees will be staying allows them to walk to the event instead of driving. While walking options are ideal, incentivizing public transportation and carpooling to the event are also eco-friendly alternatives.
When shopping around for the perfect venue for your particular event, look for places are either:
+ Well-certified: A location meets the “performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing, through the air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind.”
+ LEED-certified: These are buildings that can “save money, improve efficiency, lower carbon emissions and create healthier places for people.”
To learn more about how a partner like JTB can help your business gain success in your next in-person or hybrid event, reach out today.
As is evident at this point, there are many different ways to create and meet sustainability goals for corporate meetings and events. To learn more about how to get started with JTB and plan your next sustainable event, reach out to our team today.