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Event Organizers: Sustainability is your Responsibility

Learn about the different actions you can take to ensure your events make a lighter impact! 

Organizers have more options than ever before to lower your event’s impact on the environment

Did you know that a single day operating a large conference center leaves a carbon footprint of approximately 19,900kg/person? Shocking, we know. This is why we as event managers need to take responsibility, think about the impact we have and start organizing sustainable events. 

Deciding what to do and where to start can be overwhelming, but every step towards more sustainable event planning can make a difference. Building sustainability into your events doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. There are many things you can do to start integrating them into your work today.

So, are you ready to get started? PIRATEx has been committed to creating engaging events that excite audiences for over a decade. In that time, we’ve made a commitment to understanding and measuring the impact of our productions. To share what we’ve learned we’ve developed a free guide for Event Professionals to help you improve the sustainability of your next event.

Sustainable Events Resources

Inside you’ll find 71 ways to ensure your event makes a lower impact:

Low impact by design

Raising awareness

Create Incentives for Going Green

Choosing Venues Carefully

Waste Management

Making Smart Choices

Choosing Renewable Options

Reducing Waste Before It´s Produced

Choosing Climate Friendly Alternatives

Providing Digital Options

Download your sustainable events guide here!

Why should event organizers care about sustainability?

As mentioned above, an event can have a tremendous impact on the environment. To put into perspective just how much difference, have a look at this data:

A very large scientific conference with about 26000 people generates about the same emissions as 1445 average American families! But if you move that same conference online to a virtual format, you can reduce this event’s environmental impact by 99.9%!

That doesn’t mean every event needs to be held virtually. But this example shows just how much can be done to reduce your impact. Even small interventions, such as limiting the number of visitors on-site and providing virtual attendance options make a difference.  

Sustainable Events Pinterest Board

The time to start is now 

Event organizers cannot look past the impact caused by the production of single-use items, excess catering, goodie bags, mandatory international travel and lack of digital options that have characterized events over the years. Attendees are demanding more conscious options with less waste and sponsors who have made public commitments to sustainability will be reluctant to attach their names to an event that has significant environmental costs. Wasteful events may open your attendees and exhibitors to criticism for their participation.  

To start reducing the environmental impact from your events, a good place to begin is knowing the impact you are already having. One of the ways to do this is to use a carbon calculator. It’s important to mention that when it comes to events, carbon calculating is very difficult and still needs a lot of improvement. Despite those limitations, they are still useful to provide a measurement that serves as a baseline. But it is still important, to get a feeling of the impact your work can and will have. Once you have an estimate, you can begin to incorporate some of the tips and methods we’ve shared here to make a difference.

Event Carbon Calculators Pinterest Board

Today, there’s an increasing number of different providers offering carbon measurements for event professionals. As mentioned previously, unfortunately, none of them can give a completely accurate measurement. However, these tools can provide a good overview of the carbon footprint your event might have, so you can work to reduce it.

To estimate the carbon impact of your event, carbon calculators measure the emissions of different features of your production and put them together.  Common categories include travel (by plane, train, car, bus etc.), catering (vegetarian, vegan etc.), accommodation and location. Every calculator has its certain strengths and puts the focus on different aspects. Some even offer country-specific information. Rather than taking one measurement, we recommend trying out different providers to get an all-round view of your event’s carbon footprint. The differences that each calculator may find for the same event can be surprising!

Organizations working to help events lower their environmental impact:

Further Sustainability Resources for Event Professionals: