Going green: rookie mistakes to avoid

Green Events: Rookie Mistakes to Avoid

We’re seeing more and more event planners trying to adopt the practice of ‘green eventing’. More popular than ever, environmentally conscious events are certainly in-vogue in our industry at the moment, and yet we’ve seen that many event planners don’t actually know how to differentiate between what can be considered an authentically green event, and what can’t.

There are many ways to make your events more environmentally friendly and sustainable, but there are also a few pit falls, so if you have been practicing the don’ts listed below, take note!

Going Green for The Wrong Reason

You’ve probably heard us say that the purpose of an event should be kept front of mind in the planning phase, and we stand by that. Green eventing may be a trend, but the common mistake event planners make is to blindly follow trends without knowing how to incorporate them into the event’s overall strategy. Question the purpose behind hosting a green event: Does it resonate with the ultimate goal of green events, which is to benefit the surrounding environment?

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There’s always a good reason to include green event trends in your planning – after all, we should be doing all we can to make as little impact on the environment as possible. But the trick is to keep it authentic, and communication is key. If you’re passionate about the environment, then communicate that through your delegate journey and conversations. Tell your audience why you’re going green, how you’re going green, and above all, embrace the responsibility of using and facilitating genuinely sustainable practices and elements.

Creating Carbon Footprints

It’s important to remember that green eventing is about far more than just using plants and flowers as décor – it essentially emphasises the process of being Carbon Footprint conscious. Carbon Footprints – which are emissions of CO2 – in the event industry are most commonly found in dietary selection, manufacturing, and logistics. In the world of events and activations, the addition of low energy lighting or simple recycling during events are frequently sold as the ultimate green solutions, but we’ve found that the act of truly reducing our carbon footprint should be practiced throughout the planning and implementation phases of events, by mindfully reusing, reducing, and recycling. Adding a zero to waste landfill approach to your event objective has its rewards.

The digital age has definitely made it easier for planners to lessen their carbon footprint. Take your communication strategy for instance – Instead of printing heaps of signage and posters, sending out multiple invitations, notes, or updates, share the bulk of communications online instead. Social Media is also a great place to market your event without having to use a single piece of paper. If you’re worried about reducing carbon cost on the actual day of your event, go digital: From registration desks to menus and even agendas and presentations, make your event collateral available on an App or use screens in the venue to share regular updates.

Calling an Event Green When It’s Not

A rookie mistake most planners make is to claim that their event is green when it isn’t. Assuming that certain practices or additions are green and presenting them as such might be easier and seem impressive, but could affect your trustworthiness as an event planner or the authenticity of your event experience in the eyes of your guests, if proven otherwise.

Our advice? Research, research, research! Take the time to research what true green eventing is. The fastest way to event failure is being dishonest or communicating an uninformed message to your guests who ultimately determine the credibility of your future events. Some guests may only be interested in your event because it has been labelled as a green event or promises a green experience in one way or another, so make sure that you provide a truly authentic experience. Research suppliers who are known for carbon conscious products and services, find out what their process is, what makes them green, and what sets them apart from competitors. The more information you have, the better!

Sacrificing Quality for Cost

Green eventing can be costly, so many planners default to saving on sustainable or carbon conscious elements, but if you find yourself in a similar situation ensure that you don’t cut costs that reduce the quality of your event must-haves. In a previous blog we gave you 8 tactics to make your event greener, and in it we delved a little deeper into the world of green catering. If you plan to introduce environmentally conscious catering options, ensure that your caterer is aware of the green objectives of your event and therefore provides a service in line with this purpose – think using seasonal ingredients, limiting food waste or donating produce left over after the event. If you want to take it a step further with biodegradable utensils, ensure that the supplier confirms the materials used are in fact produced in an environmentally friendly manner, instead of claiming so just to make a quick sale. Use reliable suppliers who will go the extra mile to fulfil your green mission, without sacrificing quality. If budget is tight, consider cutting costs by negotiating around greener transport solutions, possible supplier sponsorships and partnerships, or using smaller, local providers instead of big brands.

If you’ve never considered green eventing before, it’s not too late. Remember, your green efforts serve a bigger purpose than your event – they give back to the environment around you and the world at large, and that’s a trend we’re definitely on board with.

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