What Happened to ‘Going Green’ in Events?

December 20, 2016

Green events used to be a trend, but the term is becoming harder and harder to find. This article from Event Marketer begs the questions, "What happened to 'going green' in events?" The idea hasn't disappeared; it's evolved. "Sustainability" is the new "green," and it's only part of the equation. Planners and marketers are finding ways to think responsibly about the impact of the entire event life cycle on the environment and community. According to Paul Salinger of Oracle, this movement involves a "triple bottom line," considering "people, planet and profits."

The Wellness Factor
A focus on wellness is one part of the equation that can have an effect throughout the triple bottom line.  For people, this means offering a health-conscious menu and plenty of breaks and fresh air. By doing this, the planet is also impacted: healthy food usually involves fresh, local ingredients that don't need to travel far. Increasing the opportunity for biking and walking means less pollution from other modes of transportation. Wellness for people directly impacts the wellness of the environment.

Sustainability Has a Voice
Some events are incorporating a "net positive" philosophy. This means setting a goal that doesn't just reduce negative impact, but has a positive effect on the community. By finding ways to benefit the city or region socially, environmentally and economically, an event can make an impression on out-of-town guests and affect their expectations for how things are done in their home cities.

Social Media is Saving Trees
Shift away from paper brochures and programs, and focus on sharable social media content to disseminate your messaging. Everyone has a smartphone, tablet or other device with them, so put those environmentally-friendly tools to work and avoid printed material that ends up in the trash. Ask your vendors about their processes for waste and recycling, and build sustainability into the negotiation process.

The Nastiest Problem
Communication can be the biggest issue to overcome in the planning process. There is still a lot of misunderstanding about the cost of sustainability in events. Planning a green event doesn't necessarily mean spending more money. It can also be difficult to get the entire event team on the same page when discussing sustainability efforts throughout the life cycle of the event-including what happens to materials and waste after your guests go home.

Read the full article for more examples of how green events are evolving, and the role corporate responsibility is playing in the events industry. Share your own experience with how sustainable practices play into the planning process at #ConnectPlusDoingItAllResponsibly.