Things that matter for a GREEN EVENT
(please help to complete the list as an ongoing process; add reference & priority and help to correct the language. Many members contributed to the text)
- DO COMMUNICATE your event as a green event, make your decisions transparent and participative
- make your motivation to create a green event public and ask your audience for ideas how they could enhance it
- Rethink your merchandise. Is it sustainable and plastic free? Do you really need it, what is the impact? Collect reusable items (badges etc.) after your event and save them for the next one.
- check the electricity source of the provider for the WIFI facilities at the venue. Could it be changed to a provider of renewable energy?
- abstain from print outs of schedule, documentation ... use online means instead, especially if the provider of these service uses renewable energy supplies.
- Google says: In 2017, Google achieved a major milestone: purchasing 100% renewable energy to match our annual electricity consumption for global operations, including our data centers and offices.
- Apple and Facebook also use 100% renewable for (most of?) their online services. Twitter sadly still has a long way to go and is not green
- You can use this service https://www.thegreenwebfoundation.org/ to check if a website/online service uses 100% renewable energy or not.
- if you do have to print use certified ecofriendly paper and printing houses and do communicate it
On FOOD & DRINKS
- refrain from any meat served at the venue. Highlight the vegetarian option and look for a good cook
- One kilo beef causes 36 kilo CO2. (https://www.simply-live-consciously.com/english/food-environment/1-burger-200-car-miles/) If there are 200 meals of meat served at the conference, each on 100gr meat, the emissions would be like 720 kilo CO2. It would take 36 trees and each ten years old to absorb it in a year.
- Consider also that going vegetarian could mean using tofu which is likely to be produced from American intensively farmed soybean as well as exotic vegetables transported half way around the globe. An alternative might be to look for catering that only uses locally sourced ingredients. 100% authentic local food will also make the experience more interesting to the delegates.
- make sure the caterer refrains from using one-way plates, cups... And if for some reason they are necessary, make sure they use only products made from renewable/biodegradable materials.
- check if you could serve tap water instead of bottled water. Maybe provide reusable bottles to refill by the attendees. Remember to to tell attendees that it is safe to drink tapwater if so.
- avoid small packed portions both for food and drinks, this causes a lot of waste
- Make sure all waste is sorted for recycling (Venue & catering). All countries might not be very far in this, but asking or requiring raises awareness and puts pressure on service providers (and eventually public services) to make changes. If sorting is not possible, minimizing waste and using only biodegradable products is even more important.
- motivate all attendees to use train or bus to reach the venue, at least if the travel distance is below 1000 km
- If you cooperate with a hotel to host your attendees make sure that they proceed sustainability guidelines, like no individual plastic package in the bathroom, washing of towels only by demand, renewable energy supply, no air conditioning, passive house standards...
On INVITING SPEAKERS
- if suitable: ask some speakers living on a long distance of the venue to present online or let the talk be presented by somebody else (knowledge, experience and trust are needed for that)
On Live streaming and recording, for free or for a reduced fee
On GREEN VENUE
- check if the venue is certified as "climate protective", "green" ... venue (look for instance here for Germany: https://www.greenmeetings-events.de/; in Austria: https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/nachhaltige-veranstaltungen-0) on a global scale there is https://greenglobe.com/ but only a small high end venues such as huge congress center will have it. You can also check https://www.greenkey.global for accommodations throughout Europe (but mainly in The Netherlands, Belgium and France).
- what lights are used on stage? LED lights save a lot of energy and do not produce so much heat
- What about waste? How is the garbage handled at the venue? Do they ask the attendees to separate paper, bio degradable, glass ...?
- check the electricity used at the venue. Could it be changed to a provider of renewable energy?
- check the heating / air conditioning of the venue. Is it the lowest carbon footprint possible?
- avoid the use of heating systems placed outside based on gas (patio heater), if it is to cold to be outside it is to cold. If you can't use electric means: https://www.heat-outdoors.co.uk/help-desk/useful-articles/greener-outdoor-heating.html
On FINANCE & SPONSORING
- Check if sponsors could partly help to create a green event by compensating the carbon footprint of the event with donations to climate protection initiatives
- prefer sponsors that invest in green technology or fullfill the sustainability audit of your country (like EMAS https://www.emas.de/meta/english-summary/)
- check where you, the partners, sponsors or venue would use plastic and consider to replace it by more sustainable means
FURTHER INFORMATION BY THIRD PARTIES
- in German: https://scm.de/fileadmin/images/nachhaltigkeit/Leitlinien_Green_Events__LS.pdf
- Blogpost by Europeana about measures taken on behalf of Europeana 2019: https://pro.europeana.eu/post/europeana-2019-building-a-sustainable-event .
- the "green event ninjas" is an agency that provides services to create green events https://greeneventninjas.com/the-dojo/sustainable-event-tip-23-choose-certified-green-building-venue/ there are many more out there