Think Green: How to Create a Sustainable Event
Green Meetings and Events: A Guide to a Greener Event
The events and entertainment industry is not indifferent to the demands and wishes of consumers worldwide, and one clear request from users today is making events more sustainable. With citizens worldwide demanding actions and climate change protesters flooding the streets of every major city, the need for change has expanded and we’re now seeing the first steps being taken at events.
In 2017, Glastonbury Festival recycled over 60 tonnes of paper and card, 32 tonnes of glass, 45 tonnes of cans, 40 tonnes of plastic bottles and turned 4,500 litres of cooking oil into biofuel. Also, the largest carbon-neutral trade show was attended by 109,674 attendees. We’re talking about the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (2019). The event has grown in number of attendees year by year but has maintained its carbon-neutral footprint.
According to a recent study conducted by GlobeScan in which 25,000 consumers in 25 countries were interviewed, there is still a large gap between consumers’ intention to live sustainably and their current behaviours.
Over decades of consulting citizens worldwide, we have never felt a moment of more urgency and opportunity for brands to connect with their customers on the topic of healthy and sustainable living. We think the co-benefits are unprecedented - Eric Whan, Director, GlobeScan
With such demands and opportunities from a sustainability point of view, it becomes imperative to go through a list of measures that event planners could already be implementing and also entertainment options that can contribute to making events more sustainable.
Sustainable Event Ideas for all Event Planners
Working with hundreds of event planners every year, we are often asked to share sustainable event ideas that can contribute to make events greener. Besides our knowledge in entertainment, our clients also trust our expertise in the events industry and we’re happy to share with them some of the great examples we’ve seen professionals put into practice at trade shows, exhibitions, corporate occasions, sporting events, and so on.
1. Go Paperless:
You can avoid wasting paper by opting for other methods of sharing information such as emails or digital tools such as apps, which also allows you to share information about the event including timetables and other useful data. Even if you decide to go for a print invite or you require printed brochures or calendars, make sure you use recycled paper.
2. Partner up with public transport:
The majority of city councils will be more than happy to hear from you when it comes to sustainability, as governments encourage them to design actions to reduce car dependency. One of those actions can be a partnership with events taking place locally to offer public transport discounts for attendees or incentives that encourage car sharing.
3. Composting loos:
If you haven’t heard of composting looks before, make sure you’re taking notes now! An increasingly popular green water technology, waterless toilets have saved a vast amount of water, not to mention the fact that they cut out the use of chemicals.
4. Use solar energy:
Does your event require sound and staging? Then you should know there are ways to save energy like using solar power. A renewable energy source as we can’t run out of solar energy, unlike other sources of energy. If you’re truly interested to make your event more sustainable, make sure you take into consideration solar venues when choosing where to hold your event.
5. Inspire sustainable practices:
You can actually inspire guests at your event to implement sustainable practices with different activities and performances. A great example is what festival-goers normally enjoy at Coachella.
In 2019, in order for the DJs to be able to play their set, festivalgoers had to run in two human hamster wheels. The energy was also generated by a playground, featuring an adult-sized seesaw, swings, hand cranks, and bicycles, that fed into a lithium-ion battery.
Other great activities included energy playgrounds or the ultra-famous Recyclosaurus rex, a huge sculpture of a T-Rex made of recycled materials who people can ‘feed’ with cans, bottles and trash.
You can see some of the many fun and interactive activities that California-based non-profit organisation Global Inheritance put into place by watching the video below. Make sure you also follow them on social media as they share tons of cool recycling and sustainability challenges plus they are always in search of volunteers and designers who can create unique pieces of art for recycling bins, posters, and more!
6. Offer recycling opportunities:
Many major trade shows and festivals are sustainability-focused events. In fact, ‘Love the Farm, leave no trace’ is a big part of Glastonbury Festival’s philosophy. These and other major events have put various measures into place to prevent waste prevention and recycling such as banning selling single-use plastic bottles; only allowing compostable or reusable plates and cutlery; setting up water refill and recycling stations, and more!
7. Use LED lighting
: LED bulbs mean less heat, more light and lower cost. By using less energy, LED lighting reduces the demand from power plants and decreases greenhouse gas emissions. On top of that, LED bulbs contain no toxic elements, which helps protect the environment from further toxic waste when they’re disposed.
For further information about green meetings and events, make sure you download Event Industry News’ Sustainable Event Buyers’ Guide, a complete guide to a greener event that includes tips, interviews with sustainability experts and examples of events that have managed to reduce their carbon footprint in the past, among other useful data.
Entertainment to Make your Event more Sustainable
1. Sustainable and Still Delicious!
Catering is always one of the most discussed parts of an event. Today, food and drinks suppliers are asked to work with locally sourced, environmentally-friendly products to help reduce events’ carbon footprint. The below options are two of our favourite catering providers.
- Oyster Servers: When it comes to choosing a sustainably farmed seafood, oysters are probably unbeatable. Boasting little negative impact on their surrounding environment, all you need to be careful of is who supplies them and make sure they follow sustainable aquaculture practices.
Not only oysters clean the water around them, but it’s also great oyster farmers don't need to use pesticides or antibiotics to keep their oysters healthy. Our Oyster Servers in particular claim to use local suppliers who comply with all legal regulations and apply a sustainable approach to fish farming.
- Bespoke Catering: Offering thematic, tailored event cuisine, our event caterers are the perfect customised catering solution for events of any size. Advocates for ‘slow’ food made in a traditional method, this group of gastronomy experts use locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.
Presenting scrumptious and sustainable food, with this service you can rest assured you will treat your guests with freshly sourced ingredients with a focus on sustainability, as our chefs’ objective is to ensure they minimise both their impact on the world's resources and any harmful waste that they produce.
2. When Sustainability Meets Fun, Technology and Exercise
We’re truly impressed by how creative artists can get when it comes to producing shows that align with sustainability principles. Some of the most exciting and fun shows we currently offer include the following:
- Variety Drumming Act: Dynamic, fun and engaging, this group of percussionists deliver a recycled drumming show. With the underlying theme of sustainability and the importance of recycling, this entertaining drum show is perfectly suited to green meetings and events. Best of all? It can also include educational elements to inspire people to recycle!
- Recycled Robot: A self propelled, radio-controlled robot is fully made of recycled materials. This unique creature talks, dances, plays music and squirts water, causing a sensation wherever he goes. Perfect for recycled-awareness events, this friendly character can be one of the many fun activities you can book to encourage guests at your event to think green!
- Smoothie Bikes: An avant-garde, healthy and noiseless invention that encourages the creation of green energy, another great thing about these bikes are the fact that they use organic and fresh fruits and vegetables to produce smoothies! Equipped with calorie and km metre so participants can challenge themselves, we can’t think of a more engaging and fun game to promote sustainability.
- GIF Experience: If you would like to immortalise the best moments of your event but would like to go paperless to reduce your carbon footprint, you might like to consider a GIF experience. Delivering an interactive and fun experience for the participants, this GIF service doesn't use paper and allows your guests to have a cool and unique memory they can directly share on their social networks.
3. Unplugged Live music and Environmentally-conscious Art
When it comes to entertainment for live events, live music and live event artists such as caricaturists are all-time favourites. But how can we ask a band, a musician or an illustrator to reduce their carbon footprint?
- Acoustic Roaming Band: Combining the sounds of strings, percussion, woodwind and vocal harmonies, one of the many reasons why we absolutely love these guys is the fact that their performances are fully acoustic. This means there is no need for them to use energy to perform, which makes them an ideal choice for green meetings and events.
- Recycled Object Musician: As our Acoustic Roaming Band, this original musician doesn’t require energy to perform, but his concept is quite different. This artist creates his own instruments out of recycled materials, meaning he can turn objects like a tennis racket, typewriter and old telephone into fully functioning instruments. Claiming to have bought Jimi Hendrix’s old tennis racket in Shoreditch, he turned it into an electric guitar. Believe it or not, we totally love the idea behind recycled instruments!
- Recycled Material Art Show: A vibrant street art made entirely from recycled products, this truly unique pieces of street art can feature everything from parrots, racoons and storks to your product or branding. The artist behind these creations can perform live or pre-make art and produce truly eye-catching, beautiful and environmentally-friendly 3D creations.
4. Acts Making Use of LED and Other Renewable Sources of Energy
LED lighting is such a revolutionary yet easy-to-implement concept that it should have a section of its own. You can book entertainers such as LED dancers for your event, but there are also a wide variety of light options you can consider that could also help you make your event more sustainable.
- Glowing LED Wristbands: Specialising in LED wristband technology, this group of experts can create fully bespoke bands for your event and incorporate RFID tags to facilitate interaction. All the bands can be recycled responsibly as our experts can offer a rebate on all items returned to be recycled, which makes this a win-win!
- Light Art Installations: These fully bespoke, immersive and interactive light projects use plastic bottles to help raise awareness of the importance of recycling plastic. An innovative way to decorate buildings, venues and provide festivals and events with a unique and distinctive touch, these unique light art installations are also illuminated with LED bulbs.
- Solar Bug Stilt Walkers: Truly unique and eye-catching, these stilt walkers’ innovative costumes feature solar panels that soak up the sun during the day and beautifully glow at night!
Get in Touch to Discuss Further Sustainable Event Ideas
If you’re an events professional, you sure know sustainability is a hot topic - and we’re glad it is! Besides all the above wonderful ideas, we also have in mind more unique and sophisticated entertainment concepts we would love to discuss with you. From human-powered energy to original recycling stations for your event, our list of ideas is endless.
If you’re looking for a game, an activity or an experience that truly makes a difference and has an impact, get in touch with our Entertainment Experts today.