Sustainability: why not organise your event more responsibly, if you can?

Corporate events are irreplaceable and unique for both personnel and customer relations. The flipside of these positive effects is that they are also a burden on the environment. That’s why companies should seek to learn to organise their events as sustainably as possible.

”Every company needs a sustainability strategy for events. I think event organisers should help their clients to implement their events responsibly”, says Woltti’s Business Director Jarkko Kivikoski.

Change takes time

You don’t need to achieve total sustainability in a single step, and if you do, chances are it will only be skin deep. Replacing disposable cups and plates or using furniture made from recycled materials can catch the eye but, in the big picture, their responsibility footprint is negligible.

From the company’s perspective, it is enough to take sustainability into account when organising events. When you make your sustainability truly transparent, the results will follow slowly but surely. Act first, talk about it later.

”Every company’s strategy will be different, depending on which aspects of sustainability their ideas and values are focused on. The work starts with identifying those areas of your events in which responsibility can be most effectively developed and utilised.”

Catering and location have the greatest impact

In light of the news and the recent environmental report published by the IPCC, environmental sustainability is the most pressing aspect of sustainability, and this also holds true for events.

”By now, everyone has realised that this is something we have to work on, in events as well as everything else.”

In the field of environmental sustainability, the most evident areas are food, drink and travel. Addressing these aspects will most often create significant impact automatically. Favouring closer locations, local food and easily accessible premises will save on unnecessary transport costs. That won’t save the world by itself, but:
”If you can do things sensibly, there’s just no reason not to.”

Be smart and consider the community

Sustainability has is a social as well as environmental aspect. The impact of an event on its surrounding area is not to be neglected. Social responsibility is improved by leaving the money in the community.

”Festival bracelets are a good example. You could get them cheaper from China, but if you source them locally, you can trace how they were produced, where the money goes and what the employment impact will be.”

Social sustainability can also be emphasised in the choice of venue. If the choice is between a company that supports children’s sports and one that pours all of its profits into the pockets of shareholders, clients are often prepared to tip the scales in favour of the first one.

”People are asking these kinds of questions more and more. Companies prefer service providers that emphasise social sustainability in their operations.”

Creativity does not require waste

The third aspect of sustainability is economical. Creativity and impact are key considerations in organising an event, but you shouldn’t spend recklessly.

”Both event organisers and their clients should use the company’s money like it was their own. You shouldn’t pay for dancers, for example, if they don’t create any impact.”

Partners are paying more and more attention to the ways in which companies address issues of sustainability. Because communicating sustainability reliably is difficult, it’s better to show than tell.  That’s where events come into their own.

”Customer events are fantastic opportunities to communicate about sustainability, because they translate words into behaviour. Events are the interface between responsibility and action.”

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