WHY SUSTAINABILITY IN EVENTS
IS NON NEGOTIABLE
The world has gone green. Greta Thunberg is the new it-girl, yoghurt pots are being made into chic coasters and a top bodybuilder is a vegan.
Climate change has been brought to the forefront of almost everyone’s minds in almost everything we do. And yet it seems hard for this consciousness to permeate into the events industry. Events are notorious for producing excess waste; brands often pedal out as much of their product as possible with single-use promotional material, harmful packaging and gas guzzling equipment.
We recently activated a large-scale consumer event with Good Hemp, an environmentally friendly vegan hemp brand producing milks, oils and seeds. Considering that hemp is a CO2-capturing champion (breathing in four times more carbon dioxide than trees) it was imperative that our event was as sustainable as possible. We partnered with an electric eco boat company to ferry customers along the Thames. We brewed our own cold brew coffee in vats to save on electricity. We sourced as many recyclable, reusable and sustainable items as possible, including coffee cups made from plants, hemp cushions and even gluten-free wheat straws.
But it’s not just brands with an obvious sustainable agenda who need to be ensuring their activations are planet friendly. We don’t really need to even give you a reason: consumers (especially Gen Z and Millennials) are clued up. It’s our duty as event stylists, organisers and planners to design sustainable activations without abandoning creativity and imagination.
5 TOP TIPS FOR GOING GREEN FOR YOUR EVENT:
- Sort out your storage. Not the first thing that might come to mind when prepping for an event but there is no point re-purchasing the same items every year because you can’t see the tablecloths at the back of the cupboard. Save money and save the planet by sorting and labelling all your props so they are easy to find.
- It’s all in the sourcing. If you have to purchase new items, make sure they are either second hand, made from recycled material or biodegradable. Hire furniture, props, crockery and glassware. If you’re creating bespoke assets, ensure they can be re-used for future events. Our favourite eco-friendly suppliers include Greenman Packaging, Etsy and Ebay. Don’t dismiss a good rummage at a car boot or in a charity shop too.
- The right sort of rubbish. Make sure you figure out your waste removal in plenty of time – it’s often not thought about and discarded in haste at the end of an event. Speak to your venue and arrange recycling collections with the council. Carefully brief event staff to make sure your hard work doesn’t go to waste. If you have surplus stock, link up with OLIO to distribute it to your neighbours who can make better use of it.
- Find like-minded partners. Saving the planet is the most monumental of all tasks. Link up with partners who share the same goals and the work will be cut in half, thirds, quarters and so on! Use a chef passionate about vegan food. Find a transport company who offset their carbon emissions. Engage an eco-influencer who can spread the word to their followers about your good deeds.
- Anything you can do is better than nothing. In the current climate of trolling and social media, it’s extremely easy for us to point the finger and criticise when others fall short of perfection. We should actually be applauding those who make the even the smallest changes for the better. If you source all your assets second hand but have to transport them in a van, take comfort in the fact that you are learning, and each time you will be improving.