Event Management Tips
How to Plan a Sustainable Networking Event
Feb 14, 20233 min read
Networking events are an excellent way to meet new people, share ideas, and develop professional relationships. These events, however, can have a significant impact on the environment. Networking events can contribute to pollution, habitat destruction, and other environmental issues, from the energy consumed by the venue to the waste produced by food and drinks. Even so, with a little extra effort, a sustainable networking event that minimizes environmental impact and promotes environmental responsibility is possible.
In this article, we will look at some of the most important aspects of organizing a sustainable virtual, hybrid or in person networking event, such as selecting a green venue and encouraging attendees to practice ecofriendly practices.
By following these guidelines, you can not only reduce your event's environmental impact, but also create a memorable and meaningful experience for all attendees.
Choose a green venue
Finding a green venue is a vital step in organizing a sustainable networking event. A green venue has eco-friendly policies and practices in place, such as recycling and composting programs, energy-efficient lighting, and water conservation efforts. Consider this when selecting a green venue - some green venues also have a green roof or terrace that helps with reducing heat island effect and improve air quality, which can make your guests feel great and make an amazing-looking venue!
Encourage carpooling and public transportation
Transportation is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, so by reducing the number of cars on the road, you can help to reduce the event's overall environmental impact. When choosing a green venue, try to select the one which is easily accessible with public transportation, cycling and/or by walk. If the event is held at a location that is not easily accessible by public transportation, consider providing shuttle services to and from nearby public transportation stations. If that’s not possible, encourage attendees to carpool to reduce emissions or take public transportation to the event to reduce emissions from individual cars.
Serve sustainable food and drinks
Another important aspect of organizing a sustainable networking event is providing sustainable food and drinks. From the energy and water consumption required for production to the waste generated by packaging and transportation, the food and beverage industry has a significant environmental impact.
Choose local and seasonal foods: Look for food suppliers that use locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, which reduces the environmental impact of transportation and supports local farmers. It is also important to avoid using single-use plastics such as straws, plastic utensils, and plastic cups. Instead, opt for reusable or biodegradable alternatives, like bamboo or paper cutlery.
When choosing a menu try to offer vegetarian and vegan options. These options are typically more sustainable because they require less energy and water to produce, and generate less greenhouse gas emissions compared to meat-based options. When ordering food and drinks, avoid over-doing it and find a way to locally donate and/or compost any leftover food.
Recycling is an effective way to reduce waste and conserve resources, and it is a simple action that everyone can take to help the environment. Try placing recycling stations throughout the event venue, and clearly label them with instructions on what can be recycled. To make recycling for your guests easier, use recyclable materials such as paper, cardboard, and aluminium for event materials like brochures, name tags, and decorations.
It is also important to train staff, volunteers and attendees on the importance of recycling and how to properly sort materials for recycling. You can educate attendees by including information on recycling to your event landing page on the event networking platform or via digital invitations.
Use digital invitations
Instead of mailing out physical invitations, use digital invitations to reduce paper waste. Traditional paper invitations require the use of natural resources for production and contribute to waste, while digital invitations can be sent electronically directly from your event matchmaking software, reducing the environmental impact. Smart way to do so is by sending them via e-mail, social media or event management platforms where they can RVSP and track any event updates. Lastly, use e-ticketing to allow attendees to access the event and avoid printing out physical tickets.
By following these tips, you can plan a networking event that is not only enjoyable and productive, but also environmentally responsible. Sustainability is important not only for the environment, but also for businesses and organizations. It not only helps to mitigate the negative environmental effects of events, but it also helps to promote a positive image for the organization to attendees and the wider community.
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