Green Events - Sustainable Event Management

5 Tips for Planning Sustainable Events

Green events are the next step for all companies that are currently converting to more sustainability. With the digitalisation of invitation and participant management, you too can significantly reduce your CO2 emissions and take a big step towards more sustainable event management. Make your event a bit greener.

Why switch to sustainability and Green Events?

Imagine you are at an event and the bins are overflowing with plastic cups, unnecessarily printed papers, programme booklets, tickets and leftover food - what do you associate with the company behind this event? Probably wastefulness and immoderation - and both are not only evidence of bad planning but also of irresponsibility in the use of our resources. If you attach importance to sustainability in your everyday work and have made it a priority, you should apply this to your event planning: With Green Events. Green Events are events that are characterised by sustainable planning, organisation and implementation. This includes, for example, a completely virtual organisation of the event or the minimisation of travel costs. But non-virtual events can also be made greener: with "green food" - a sustainable caterer and perhaps a vegan menu, biodegradable alternatives to plastic dishes and to-go cups or a completely paperless event without brochures and printed matter.

In 2020 it can no longer be denied: Sustainability is an issue that concerns us all. Consumers and business partners alike are expected to make a contribution. For example by planning and implementing sustainable Green Events.

Green Events: This is event planning 2022

Of course: Organising an event is already associated with a lot of effort. The idea of making structural changes for a Green Event during this process may not necessarily be tempting, but it's worth it. The change to Green Events is neither a trend nor a temporary PR measure, but a movement that develops step by step. Nevertheless, you should not forget to communicate your Green Event to the outside world.

It's not about being perfect from the start, but about showing that you as a company are dealing with the topic of sustainability - and every one of your guests at your Green Event will appreciate that. However, acting more sustainably does not always automatically mean more work or more costs - on the contrary, there are even possibilities that can save you work for a Green Event through smart solutions. We'll tell you five tricks that don't require much effort, that turn your event into a Green Event in no time at all and that will quickly make you feel better - for you and your guests.

Whether an event is really a Green Event can be checked very easily. You can have your Green Event certified, for example by Green Globe, EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme) or the ISO 20121 standard. In Germany there is also a Fair Trade Sustainability Code - a voluntary self-commitment for the event industry. The code contains guidelines for Green Events, participants are required to report on compliance and violations.

Green Events- Tip 1: Switch to virtual events

Sure, some events simply have to take place in person. However, a virtual event would be much more appropriate - virtual events usually are Green Events. Also lower costs, because no location, no catering and no travel and accommodation are necessary, higher numbers of participants thanks to a lower participation effort and the possibility for completely new content concepts and the integration of innovative tools are also at the top of the list of advantages. Recently, virtual events have also become the only possible choice for some organisers, due to the reduced risk of infection and legal requirements. Find out how Sweap can help you with your virtual events.

Green Events- Tip 2: Reduce your paper waste

The most effective step on the way to more sustainability in event planning is the digitalisation of the guest management of your event. Meanwhile there are a lot of possibilities from electronic invitations to an uncomplicated online registration and a paperless check-in, which not only relieve your printer but also have economic and process-optimising advantages.

Before you print anything out, ask yourself whether this is really necessary or whether there isn't a better, smarter, paper-free alternative for your Green Event. For example, instead of printing all the name badges before the event as was previously the case, with Sweap they can be printed within seconds on-demand directly at the event check-in - and only those that are really needed.

Of course this also applies to all kinds of brochures, banners, foils, stickers, leaflets, forms - but also to the catering for your event. Meanwhile, there are excellent biodegradable alternatives to conventional paper napkins and paper plates, which will bring you closer to a Green Event.

Green Events- Tip 3: Choose a central, easily accessible location

Bring the event to your guests instead of the other way around. 80% of your guests live in Berlin? Then why bring them all to Frankfurt? Make the location of your event location regionally and in the city centre one of the main criteria in your search and get your guests to leave their cars & co. behind. A small measure that, depending on the number of participants, can have an effect that should not be underestimated and make your event more of a Green Event.

If there is no other way, try to make sure that the location of your event is easily accessible by public transport, offer your guests to pay for a train ticket or organise carpools. In this way, you will not only encourage your guests to act more sustainably, but also save them long journeys and inner-city car experiences, which - especially during rush hour - everyone would gladly do without.

Green Events- Tip 4: Work with sustainable catering companies

For your Green Event, ask catering companies about the origin of the products they use. Green Catering tries to avoid factory farming and flying mangoes. Instead, look for high-quality regional and seasonal food. Especially when it comes to animal products, you should insist on species-appropriate animal husbandry - or you might even try vegetarian or vegan catering for your Green Event, depending on the occasion. Your guests will thank you - and so will the environment.

If you are looking for sustainable partners in your city, the local convention office is the place to go. Here you can take a nice discovery tour through the sustainable "Green Berlin".

Green Events- Tip 5: Invite your guests to act sustainably

Sure, sometimes an event simply cannot do without plastic name tags and printed paper. Show your guests that you still have sustainability in mind for your event and invite them to participate. For example, by creating a waste separation facility or asking them to return name tags and unneeded materials at the end of the event. This will make your guests feel good and immediately make it clear that sustainability is on the agenda for your Green Event.

Goodiebags are often full of stuff that nobody needs. Instead of the 300th key ring, stress ball or pen printed with a logo, you'd better think of something that really adds value for your event participants. There are plenty of possibilities here: really practical tech accessories, a themed magazine subscription, a high-quality notebook or clothes like hoodies or socks. Pay attention to sustainable production - at a Green Event, the Goodiebag can also make sense. How about a refillable water bottle, a coffee-to-go cup, flower seeds or a donation in the name of the event participant for a charitable project? Think smart here too and convince with creative ideas - this way you and your Green Event will be remembered much sooner than with a bag full of cheap promotional gifts.


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By making your event a green event step by step, you are not only doing something good for the environment, but also for the positioning of your company in terms of content. Not to mention the economic advantages that arise from the conversion to digital guest management for your event. Not only does it allow you to automate some steps such as sending reminders and news or organising acceptances and cancellations, which previously cost a lot of time and money: Digitalisation has now taken over almost all areas of our lives, which means that customers expect digital solutions that make their everyday lives easier. Why run to the letterbox to drop off your registration for an event when it is much faster and easier online?

Another big advantage is the evaluation of the event afterwards, which in analogue terms was a huge expenditure of personnel, time and paper and suddenly becomes very easy when all data is clearly available in the dashboard of the guest management tool and is available with just a few clicks including the evaluation. And, of course, virtual events in particular benefit from the new possibilities offered by digitalisation.

As you can already see: The conversion to a Green Event does not have to be an economic disadvantage, but offers the potential to question old processes (such as "But we've always done it this way") and to find smart, creative solutions from which everyone benefits - companies, guests and the environment.

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Article by Annina Boetcher
Freelance copywriter, concept developer & brand consultant for Berlin, Hamburg, Hanover, all of Germany and beyond.