The checklist to running an environmentally sustainable event on a sustainable budget
Please use this guide to start a green event policy within your company, which will lead to reducing the impact the meetings and events industry has on the planet.
This information can be implemented today with immediate results.
This document was compiled from information supplied for a presentation at RSVP Sydney on 17 July 2007.
The following people and / or companies supplied the information:
What are we aiming for?
Scientists report that the Earth’s temperature is rising unusually quickly. Climate change has the potential to threaten millions of lives, and to affect the capacity of the world to feed itself, the availability of fresh water, the control and spread of disease, the survival of species, the direction in which our oceans flow and the severity of our weather. Evidence that global warming is happening in Australia today includes rising average temperatures leading to increased frequency of hot days; increasing severity of drought and bushfire; increases in the frequency of intense cyclones; and rising sea levels.
When we talk about Going Green, the ultimate aim is to make our actions sustainable – using less of everything now so that it lasts longer and choosing to use products, suppliers or procedures that have less of an impact on the planet.
This applies to all facets of events management, particularly the areas of water, energy, air, waste, transport, procurement. Many of these areas are interlinked and provide opportunities to make environmental and cost savings.
Australia has the highest per capita emissions of greenhouse gases in the world today, with a significant proportion of these due to our reliance on coal as the fuel of choice to produce electricity. Through the use of electricity for lighting, air conditioning and other systems, events consume a lot of electricity. The ultimate aim for your energy consumption is zero emissions. Another aspect of climate change is alterations in global and regional water patterns. Evidence of this can be seen in the continued drought in NSW. What water is your event using and how could you use less? The ultimate aim for an event’s water consumption is minimal use of sustainable rain or recycled water.
In a world of finite resources, waste management is also a very important issue. Waste or rubbish is generally a sign of inefficiency or poor design. Not only does it waste resources, but landfill gases also contribute significantly to global warming. Recycling, for example, is not only beneficial from a sustainability perspective, it can also reduce the cost of waste disposal because it’s generally cheaper to have recyclables removed than it is to have general waste removed. The ultimate aim here is to have a Zero Waste event, where everything is either reusable, recyclable or compostable.
Remember, it’s not all or nothing. You can start with a single initiative if you choose, and work from there. To better understand where your event needs to do work, it may be a good idea to start by reviewing your event’s energy, water and waste bills to get a handle on where resources are going and waste is coming from. If you Google “Green Calculator” there are over two million hits and they calculate everything from water to food to cars for you instantly and free. There are a lot of tools and resources already developed about Going Green so you don’t need to re-invent the wheel
Travel procedures and offsetting
When considering a provider for air travel:
Offset your carbon emissions produced by the plane, boat or car where travel is essential. There are now over eighteen companies operating in Australia where you can offset your emissions (pay a fee calculated on the amount of carbon you will use). Only chose companies that offset your emissions by investing in renewable energy.
Implement a waste reduction policy that addresses:
1. Reduction of waste altogether;
2. Reuses waste where possible;
3. Recycles waste where it cannot be reduced or reused.
Power and water supplier selection and consumption reduction
Printed material and information communication
Caterer selection and menu choices
Venue selection and requirements
Tendering for and procurement of each segment relating to an event
Ensure your tender clearly outlines your commitment to the environment and requests all responses to outline their policies. This will be like a spider-web and will result in this becoming standard in our industry.
A good Green Policy will request the following:
Ensure when asking for nominations and entries in Award Events or Prizes that all entrants must state their Green Policies and this goes towards part of the Award judgement (weighted accordingly).
Encourage the purchase of products and raw materials based on recycled content. These include toilet tissue, wood and plastic composites, packaging and containers, printer cartridges, office paper and stationery supplies.
Encourage the purchase of refurbished, recycled and reconditioned products as this will save money and also help to support the recycling industry and the development of new markets for recycled products.
The information you need is here. START NOW…