Jessica Glenn is the Sustainability Manager at Freeman, where she works to raise awareness and develop best practices for sustainability that make financial sense in light of corporate responsibility goals.
Sustainability Matters: How Green Choices Create Better Events Today and Tomorrow
Managing events requires planning and foresight to ensure the fruit of our efforts is a fantastic brand experience that exceeds expectations and delights audiences. The same can be said for sustainability. Making better event planning choices, even small ones, can make a difference. By planning ahead and thinking long-term about our actions, we’re in a better position to create not only a better event, but also a greener future for our industry and the world.
We’d all like to be lean and green but sometimes the process can feel a bit lofty. The good news is it’s easier than you think. Let’s look at the big picture and see how eco-conscious decisions truly make an impact.
Here are three reasons to go green today:
Green begets green
It’s a common misconception that sustainable practices are expensive. In truth, it’s quite the opposite. Being sustainable is all about strategy and efficiency. And we all know sound strategy and careful planning saves money! Start today by incorporating a sustainability model (one that works for your organization) into your event planning process from the beginning to avoid last-minute, tack-on ideas that can ding your budget.
Remember to look at every aspect of your event plan and ask the three-R question: Where can we reduce, reuse, and recycle? Take signage, for example. Are you using too much directional signage? Can you reuse some signs you’ve used before? If not, is the substrate recyclable? Finding those answers and making swift decisions brings green to the bottom line.
Investing in humanity
Think of green choices as your organization’s way of investing in a sustainable future that includes our industry and the world. Sure, being green is the right thing to do for the earth, but it’s also good for events and our collective livelihood. As the saying goes, we don’t inherit the world from our parents, we borrow it from our children. Smart environmental choices allow us to maintain resources, bolster economic activity and contribute to thriving societies of future generations. And besides, being green today for tomorrow’s event planners (and their children) feels good!
Eco-consciousness elevates brand experience
The best brand experiences immerse audiences in personalized interactions that highlight the brand in meaningful ways. Satisfied audiences leave with a smile (because you made it fun!), a deeper understanding of products and services offered, and ideally, a sense of what the brand truly stands for. By incorporating sustainable practices into events and experiences, you put your values in the spotlight. That transparency and openness lets your customers gain new perspective about your organization and may inspire them to start their own sustainability plans in the process.
You can take it a step further and invite audiences to join the cause. Include information and suggestions about recycling efforts, what products they could reduce or eliminate from showsite, sustainable products they could use as an alternative, and potential local charities to donate giveaways and materials that would otherwise end up in the trash.
Empowering your messages with green calls to action can leave attendees with a positive feeling because they helped make a difference. Today’s audiences value sustainability and charitable efforts; they prefer brands who share those same values. Highlighting your green practices can lead to more brand loyalty as well as an enhanced experience that’s more meaningful because you’re helping audiences contribute to the greater good.
Every little green effort helps. Each sustainable decision makes a difference that’s good for our world and good for business. Making a few simple changes and building on that effort will lead to more meaningful events today and tomorrow.