Event Marketing and Social Good: 3 Steps to Achieve a Sustainable Event

In a new series, we are highlighting the expertise of some current and past McKinley consultants. This article is written by event-planning expert Jessica Sweede. 

With climate change at the forefront of today’s headlines, many companies are looking at ways to reduce their carbon footprint. The event industry is one of the leading industries spearheading this mission.

I have learned from industry experts and scholars the impact events have on our environment. With a degree in Events Management and Tourism and an accreditation as a Certified Meeting Professional, I have spent years educating myself and others about the best practices for achieving a sustainable event. 

Here is a three-step process for achieving a sustainable event. 

Event Marketing and Social Good: 3 Steps to Achieve a Sustainable Event

Step 1: Before the event create a sustainability plan. 

According to the Events Industry Council, ask the following questions when creating your plan:

  • Why does the organization want to incorporate sustainability?
  • What are the areas of greatest impact for this particular event?
  • How much is the organization willing to contribute financially? 

2. Integrate Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards into your sustainability plan. Here are some ideas to try: 

  • Go paperless; develop online platforms for save-the-dates, invites, and registration.
  • Consider where your attendees are traveling from and choose a destination that limits the distance they have to travel.
  • Choose venues that support efficient energy/water use (e.g., linen and towel reuse programs).
  • Utilize biodegradable and/or china products for food and beverage service and choose menu items that are seasonal and local to the event destination.
  • Encourage attendees to bring their own water bottles.
  • Implement “Power-Down Plans” by disabling audio/visual equipment not being utilized.
  • Donate leftover supplies to the local community (schools, charitable organizations, etc.)

3. At the conclusion of your event, evaluate the success of your sustainability efforts through post-event reporting. 

  • Outline your event’s sustainable initiatives by reviewing the accomplishments and letdowns, carbon emissions, waste management reports, etc. Share this with your attendees and stakeholders.
  • Provide surveys to your attendees asking for recommendations for improvement.
  • Collect and analyze event data, laying the groundwork for your next event by creating an action plan for how you are going to improve going forward.

When planning your next event, keep in mind that it is not required to follow all these guidelines at once. By introducing at least some of these practices into your next event, know you will be making an impact. 

by McKinley Marketing Partners