Green Event Blog

Musings, questions, observations and considerations across the landscape of sustainable event management.

Event Carbon Footprint – possible?

The measurement of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by an event is a popular sustainability indicator chosen by event producers. There is no debate to be had that the GHG emissions of an event should be measured. Measuring GHGs is necessary for so many reasons; from our responsibility to society to disclose our impacts, through to measurement to enable effective management. Where the controversy lies is in the question of what should be included in the scope of measurement of an event’s GHGs. Each event will have a certain set of circumstances, responsibilities and impacts, which combine to factor various GHG contributors in or out of the final ‘footprint’. There’s no straightforward, clearly defined, industry-wide accepted scope of inclusion for the GHG impacts of events. Measurement is fraught with controversy and confusion, especially about how far down the line the GHG emissions calculation should go. There are wildly varying methodologies and inclusions that events are using in measuring their GHG inventories. Some events are including electricity only and calling that a ‘footprint’, while others are going into extravagant detail and measuring everything that has a sniff of CO2 about it – such as the embedded (lifecycle) GHGs in food served. Communications Challenge Many events are claiming measurement of their ‘carbon footprint’, but the important detail on what this means is lost or buried. To responsibly claim to have measured a ‘carbon footprint’ events must simultaneously declare and justify what they included their scope of measurement. As there’s currently no widely agreed methodology for an event ‘carbon footprint’ calculation, this makes claims by events around their ‘carbon footprint’, a communications challenge for the... read more

Food Waste at Events – A Quick Checklist

Food waste is the unfortunate by-product of many events. It occurs through the mishandling of food, through over-supply and under-eating. Food waste at events is waste of resources, of time and effort, and of course, of money. It costs to buy the ingredients, pay the staff and then to dispose of the waste. Food into landfill is a major cause of landfill methane emissions, a global greenhouse gas emissions contributor.  Food waste at events also contributes to startling global  food waste statistics, estimated at 1/3 of all food produced being lost or wasted.[i] The Love Food Hate Waste campaign in the UK aims to do just that – to raise awareness of the need to reduce food waste and help people take action. Here’s a quick checklist of actions you can take to avoid or reduce food waste at your event: Food service:   Serve less food. At conferences do people really want to be stuffed full?!   Avoid over catering. Accurately estimate the volume of food required considering the number of attendees, the event type and timing of activities or breaks.   Accurately brief caterers & food stalls: Communicate honestly the likely event attendance to caterers and food vendors.   Don’t overbook: Ensure you don’t book too many food stallholders considering the likely event attendance.   Attendee uptake: Understand if attendees may bring their own food and adjust communications and logistics accordingly. Ensure an even spread of types of food options that are likely to appeal to your attendees, so that no individual food stallholders are less attended that others, leading to food waste.   Pricing: Ensure pricing of food does not lead to lower sales volumes than... read more

What are your Positive Legacies?

Our role in events as demonstrators of sustainability in action along with the powerful opportunity events have to encourage changing behaviours, can leave marvellous enduring legacies. We have developed the following list of things we think all events should aspire to leave as legacies to enhancing sustainable development. 1. Sustainable Food Use your event to showcase and promote the consumption of local, seasonal, chemical free, sustainably harvested, organic, fair-trade food. Partner: with local farmers markets, farm to plate programs, food cooperatives or other local and sustainable sourcing programs. Legacy: Attendees are inspired to source local, seasonal, sustainable food in their everyday lives. 2. Energy Conservation Use your event to demonstrate how being energy efficient in planning, use, and equipment choice is possible. Partner: with energy conservation education programs or with energy efficient product companies. Offer an outlet at your event to promote their programs and products. Legacy: Inspire attendees to look at their energy consumption habits. Bridge the gap between energy demand and consumption, with energy use. 3. Renewable Energy Use your event to promote alternatives to reliance on fossil fuel based energy supply. Use solar, bio fuelled generators, wind, pedal, kinetic, hydrogen fuel cell, micro hydro, or grid based renewable energy tariffs. Partner: with renewable energy mains retailers, or offer a forum for renewable energy innovations and technologies to be showcased at your event. Legacy: Inspire event attendees to switch to renewable energy tariff/supply at home and at work, and to offer their support to programs and innovations through their voting and political choices. 4. Public Transport/Walk/Cycle Use your event to encourage uptake of sustainable transport options. Incentivise event attendees to get out of cars... read more