sustainable event ideas blog

23 Sustainable Event ideas for 2023, 2024 and beyond!

Widely regarded as one of the biggest event trends taking over 2023 and beyond, sustainable events are being increasingly sought after by climate aware and socially conscious attendees. Event management companies have a responsibility to create events that are kind to the environment and local area, as sustainability isn’t simply a trend that event managers can jump on in order to win approval from clients and attendees. Sustainability needs to be authentically embodied throughout all elements of your experience if you are to truly call it a sustainable event. 

What is a sustainable event? 

A sustainable event is any experience that minimises or removes all negative impact on the environment, on society or on the local economy. Whilst most event management companies are aware of the importance of minimising carbon emissions, food waste and non recyclable waste, many forget that there are economic and social factors that need support if they are to survive and thrive in the future. 

Not sure how to get started when it comes to incorporating all of these factors into your sustainable event? Take a look at our top 23 sustainable event ideas that you can use for 2023, 2024 and beyond! 

  1. Make sustainable event organising easy by finding a sustainable venue for your event. Lookout for third party certification from organisations such as LEED to make sure you’re selecting a truly sustainable venue.
  1. Where possible, the most sustainable decision would be to host your event as close to where your attendees live as possible, or maybe even your own office. 
  1. When selecting your venue, allow your attendees to select from a range of sustainable choices and a location that’s easily accessible by multiple forms of public transport
  1. Incentivise your attendees to take public or group transport by offering discounted travel for all attendees, or by organising group travel to the venue.  
  1. If you're offering catering for your attendees, offering plant based options will minimise the carbon footprint of your event when compared to menus that include animal products and meat. 
  1. As well as offering plant based options, sourcing your menu from local providers will also reduce the carbon footprint of each dish, and therefore of your overall event. 
  1. If you’re not providing sit down catering, offer food packaging and cutlery that is either reusable or biodegradable
  1. Eco friendly merchandise and swag can either be created from sustainable and ethically sourced products, or remove the carbon footprint of physical products altogether by offering digital perks, such as online vouchers or discount codes.
  1. Place a form ban on single use plastic across your event. By setting this hard rule from the outset you’ll easily be able to minimise the waste created from your event.  
  1. Whether it’s flyers at exhibition stands or menus for sit down dinners, tablets and QR codes can be used to remove the need for paper from your event. 
  1. You can make even more sustainably minded digital swaps by selecting digital signs over paper or printed ones. Particularly when you consider that any printed signs might only be used for that one event, this is an easy to implement sustainable event idea. 
  1. Remove the need for single use glossy brochures by creating a bespoke app or event website. Not only does this minimise waste, it means you can make live updates to the information accessed by your attendees. 
  1. Stick to a proper waste management programme. Most sustainable events will include this in their package as standard, but if not it’s your responsibility to implement an effective waste management programme. 
  1. If your event is repeated annually, create any print assets without the year included and in as neutral branding as possible. This avoids the need to reprint the same single use assets year on year and minimise the waste from your event. 
  1. The best way to minimise the waste generated by your event is to host a hybrid or virtual event. You can offer your attendees an immersive experience and remove any need for transport at all.
  2. So that you can improve on your sustainable event management practises in the future, it’s important to measure the impact of your sustainability by setting KPIs and measuring your success in achieving them.
  3. If you need to work with external suppliers, conduct a rigorous vetting process into the sustainable practices of your suppliers before agreeing to work together. 
  1. To both boost the local economy and minimise any transport associated with your event, work with local suppliers and vendors
  1. Enshrine sustainability in your supplier contracts by adding sustainability clauses to your outsourcing agreements.
  2. By opting for sustainable and energy efficient lighting and AV such as LED bulbs, you can minimise the power needed to host your sustainable event.
  3. If possible given the format of your event, inspire your attendees to take sustainable action by hosting workshops or seminars on sustainable practices that are relevant to your sector.
  4. If you really want to maximise the social sustainability of your event, donate proceeds from your event to worthy causes, such as local community projects, or global rewilding charities.
  5. In order to ensure that your sustainable action is planned, implemented and measured, work with an event agency that reflects your sustainable values

Need a hand implementing sustainable ideas throughout your next event? Get in touch with the team at First Event. We reflect our sustainability policies across each and every event we create, ensuring that you smash your event goals whilst also protecting the environment, society, and the local economy.