With conferences attracting a large footfall the amount of waste generated and the resources used can be huge. According to stats from Event Manager Blog and MeetGreen, a 1000-person, three-day event has the following environmental footprint:
5670 kg (12,500 lbs) of rubbish: That would be the weight of four compact cars. About two-and-a-half of those “cars” are heading straight to the landfill.
530 metric tons of C02E emissions: That’s the equivalent of 1,233 barrels of oil.
We’re not just talking about food waste or fuel used to travel to and from the event: A full 35% of items thrown out at a mid-size conference are recyclables, including mixed paper, cardboard, plastic and cans.
The goal of a more sustainable event should be to reduce the overall impact it has without compromising on quality whilst still being a memorable experience. Event tech innovation – particularly mobile technology – is making it easier than ever for events to reduce their environmental impact and create a greener event planning strategy.
Think about how much technology has impacted our daily lives and how it can transform the events that we plan and attend. Not sure where to start?
Here’s some of the latest technology that can help you and your team create more sustainable conferences and events.
#Climate is a social network for the eco-conscious to connect and share ideas.You can build a profile based on your interests (eg. fossil fuels or animal welfare) and then add your voice to important environmental campaigns before sharing with like-minded people in your network.
It’s the perfect place to meet other event organisers and experts in the field to find greener solutions to events organisation.
The CoGo app (as the name might imply) connects you to sustainable, ethical businesses so you can know that you’re putting your money towards good-for-the-earth purchases. This app will allow you to discover tons of new businesses that are doing great things.
Whatever you’re sourcing for your next event CoGo can help you find the most sustainable option.
Start your event as you mean to go on with paperless check-in utilising mobile devices.You can also use iPads loaded with a check-in app to easily and securely check in guests.
Not only will the process generate zero paper waste, but it will automatically organise all your event data and allow you to easily monitor who’s arriving.
Venues striving to be as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible are their own growing herbs, wild flowers, vegetables and fruits on their own rooftops and gardens.
iHuerting calls itself an Urban Farming Assistant, meaning it helps you grow your very own garden – even if you live in a city. The app will remind you when to water and fertilise your plants, as well as give you solutions to any problems you may find.
Finding ways to save water is very important. Using water efficiently means that we can minimise the amount of additional water resources being taken out of our rivers and aquifers, especially as demands are rising. This protects our water resources and the wildlife that live in and use them.
Fitting sensor taps at large venues typically mean a water saving of up to 70% compared to traditional taps. A secondary benefit is the reduction in associated utilities bills. This is because sensor taps are much more efficient than traditional taps – dispensing water only in the precise quantities needed and with no way that they can be ‘left running’ like a traditional tap.
The installation of sensor activated features has also been proven to reduce the spread of bacteria through commercial facilities.
Wearable tech allows you to experience your event in the way your attendee does. You get real time data and insights into what they are engaging or not engaging with. They save time, while saving the environment and can reduce the number of tasks that require paper like nametags and business cards.
Mobile event apps and other online tools will surely be an integral part of the events industry in the future considering their functionality and advantages.
But they’re obviously not the only solution for making events green. Truly sustainable events will require a full sustainability strategy that includes all aspects of your event from recycling and energy, to transportation alternatives that offset carbon emissions brought about by meeting travel.
Tech may not be the only answer. But it’s a good place to start.
Food Waste is a big issue in the events sector. According to food waste charity WRAP the UK throws away £15bn of food every year. The Olio app diverts food away from landfill by connecting locals or businesses with leftovers to neighbours in need. OLIO can also be used for non-food items.
Join the OLIO Food Waste Heroes program and Olio will arrange for a food safety trained Food Waste Hero to collect the surplus food at your event and prevent it from going to waste.
In addition to adding an interactive element to your event, live streaming can save your guests money and travel time. It can also add up to significant reductions in the energy and pollution attached to your event due to long distance travel.
Will live streaming replace the need for face to face events? No. Now more than ever delegates are searching out more human and personal experiences. But for delegates who live further afield it’s a simple step towards helping you reduce the environmental impact of your event without compromising on the vital elements that make live events so effective.
A major report on land use and climate change says the West’s high consumption of meat and dairy produce is fuelling global warming. Animal agriculture is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse emissions, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation, with 65% of those emissions coming from beef and dairy cattle.
Emerging technologies in food production are providing an increasingly sophisticated array of options for consumers seeking meat-free alternatives that you can add to your event menu.
Thanks partly to a partnership with Burger King, the Impossible Burger has generated a lot of press and become a popular meat alternative. Impossible Foods says it wants to create a more sustainable food chain by cutting dependency on the livestock industry, which has contributed to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation.
Not a burger fan? How about plant based ice cream? Ben and Jerry have gone dailyless in their new Non Dairy flavour creations. Made with almond milk they’re 100% certified vegan.
New technologies are allowing us to generate ever increasing amounts of data regarding energy consumption (electricity and heat), resource consumption (Water, toiletries and laundry) and waste management. This data can enable our events to become more sustainable and resource efficient.
There are solutions for measuring the overall carbon footprint, which generates important data. And data analytics can be used on data from many sources (i.e. sensors, beacons etc) to help venues identify problem areas and inform changes that need to be made.
Solar power has been heralded as the key to a clean energy future. Every day, the sun gives off far more energy than we need to power everything on earth. The most commonly known fact about solar energy is that it represents a clean, green source of energy. Solar power is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. There’s nothing about solar power that pollutes mother nature. Solar power doesn’t release any greenhouse gasses, and except for needing a source of clean water to function, it uses absolutely no other resources. Hence, it’s safe and environmentally-friendly.
Look for venues who are incorporating clean energy solutions into their set up and operations.
Solar power has been heralded as the key to a clean energy future. Every day, the sun gives off far more energy than we need to power everything on earth. The most commonly known fact about solar energy is that it represents a clean, green source of energy. Solar power is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
There’s nothing about solar power that pollutes mother nature. Solar power doesn’t release any greenhouse gasses, and except for needing a source of clean water to function, it uses absolutely no other resources. Hence, it’s safe and environmentally-friendly.