Photo by Casey Horner / Unsplash

2:5 Five sustainable event strategies

Discover the benefits of incorporating sustainability in event planning, from connecting with like-minded sponsors to boosting your brand's reputation.

Lee Matthew Jackson
Lee Matthew Jackson

As the world faces environmental challenges like climate change and plastic pollution, event planners have the power to make a positive impact and create events that align with attendees' values. Discover how prioritising sustainability can connect you with like-minded sponsors, boost your brand's reputation, and leave a lasting legacy.

In this episode, Lee explores key ways to incorporate sustainability in event planning. Rather than introducing complexity, these strategies offer cost saving, are more efficient and can also be a great vehicle for marketing to attract people that align with your brand values.

Remember, sustainability isn't just good for the environment - it's also good for your brand and that is good for business. By prioritizing sustainability in your event planning, you can attract environmentally conscious sponsors and attendees, reduce costs, and create a positive impact in your community.
Lee Matthew Jackson

Five strategies

  1. Reduce Paper Waste - Go digital with mobile apps or websites for event information, and use digital signage instead of paper signs.
  2. Use Recyclable Materials - Opt for reusable or compostable materials, and consider offering sustainable event swag or giveaways.
  3. Serve Sustainable Food - Choose locally sourced, organic, and seasonal food options. Consider vegetarian or vegan options, reduce food waste, and partner with sustainable caterers.
  4. Encourage Sustainable Transportation - Promote public transportation, carpooling, or biking, and choose a venue that is easily accessible.
  5. Offset Carbon Emissions - Invest in renewable energy or carbon reduction projects, and consider hosting your event at a green venue.

Key takeaways:

  • Sustainable events help reduce environmental impact, improve brand reputation, and connect with attendees on a deeper level.
  • Incorporating sustainable practices into events can attract environmentally conscious sponsors and attendees, reduce costs, and create a positive impact in your community.
  • Embracing sustainability in events can lead to cost savings by reducing waste and focusing on reusable materials.
  • Offering sustainable food choices not only lessens your event's environmental impact but also caters to diverse dietary preferences, ensuring all attendees feel included.
  • Sustainable transportation options can reduce traffic congestion and provide a convenient experience for attendees, while also lowering your event's carbon footprint.
  • Offset carbon emissions by supporting renewable energy and reforestation projects, further demonstrating your brand's commitment to sustainability.
  • By creating a sustainable event, you set a positive example for others to follow and contribute to the global movement towards a greener future.

Be sure to share your biggest takeaways and your own sustainability strategies in the comments section below.


Welcome to The Event Martech Podcast! This is your host Lee. And on today's show we’re looking at sustainability.

As event planners, we have the power to create incredible experiences that not only delight attendees, but also make a positive impact on the planet. With the world facing environmental challenges like climate change and plastic pollution, it's more important than ever to prioritize sustainability in our events.

By creating a more sustainable event, we not only reduce our impact on the environment, but also improve our brand reputation and encourage others to support the planet too. Moreover, with the growing importance of sustainability to consumers, incorporating sustainable practices into our events is an opportunity to showcase our brand's values and connect with attendees on a deeper level. By prioritizing sustainability, we can create an event that not only stands out but also aligns with the values of our audience, forging a stronger connection and leaving a lasting positive impression.

So in today's episode, we'll share five strategies for creating a more sustainable event that will not only help save the planet, but also elevate your brand and inspire others to join the sustainability movement. Let's dive in!

Strategy 1: Reduce Paper Waste

Think about it - how many times have you attended an event only to receive a stack of papers that you barely looked at, let alone took home with you? By going digital instead, you can not only save paper, but also make it easier for attendees to access the information they need.

One way to reduce paper waste is to create a mobile app or website for your event that displays the agenda and other vital event information in a device flexible format. This allows attendees to access all the necessary information, such as schedules, speaker bios, and maps, right from their phones or laptops. For those people that still want paper, you could include a print stylesheet within the site or app that would allow them to print out at the office before they attend.

Another way to reduce paper waste is by using digital signage instead of paper signs. Digital signage can be used to display schedules, wayfinding, and other important information throughout the event. And since digital signs are often more dynamic and interactive, they can engage attendees in a way that paper signs simply can't.

So start by going digital to reduce paper waste and create a more engaging event experience whilst saving trees.

Strategy 2: Use Recyclable Materials

It's important to use materials that can be recycled or composted, like paper, glass, or biodegradable materials such as bamboo or cornstarch.

Avoid using single-use plastic items, like straws or cutlery, as they can harm the environment and often end up in landfills or oceans. Instead, opt for reusable or compostable options like metal or bamboo straws, and compostable cutlery made from potato starch, sugarcane or wheat bran.

You can also use reusable materials like cloth napkins or reusable cups, instead of disposable items that often end up in the trash. This not only reduces waste, but also gives your event a more sophisticated and eco-friendly feel. For example, providing attendees with reusable water bottles made from recycled materials or compostable pens can be a great way to promote sustainability and reduce waste.

When it comes to event swag or giveaways, consider offering sustainable options that align with your brand's values. For instance, you could give away reusable tote bags made from recycled materials, or plantable seed paper cards that can grow into wildflowers. These options not only reduce waste, but can also leave a lasting impression on attendees.

So take a closer look at your event materials, and see how you can incorporate sustainable practices to make your next event more eco-friendly and responsible.

Strategy 3: Serve Sustainable Food

One way to achieve this is by selecting food and beverages that are locally sourced, organic, and seasonal. By doing so, you can reduce your carbon footprint and support local farmers, which also adds a unique and authentic touch to your event.

You could opt for just vegetarian or vegan options. Animal agriculture has a significant environmental impact, so by reducing or eliminating meat from your event, you can help reduce your overall carbon footprint. Not to mention, offering plant-based options can appeal to attendees with dietary restrictions or preferences.

Reducing food waste is another essential strategy. You can start by offering smaller portion sizes, which not only reduces waste but also encourages attendees to try more of the food. Using compostable plates and utensils can also make it easier to dispose of leftover food and minimize the impact on the environment. And why not consider donating any excess food to local charities or food banks.

Finally, you could also partner with caterers or vendors who have a commitment to sustainability. They may be able to provide suggestions for sustainable food options or even help with food waste management.

Strategy 4: Encourage Sustainable Transportation

By doing so, you can reduce the carbon emissions and traffic congestion associated with attendees driving to the event. Provide information on public transportation options in the area. This can include information on bus and train schedules, as well as bike share programs.

You can also incentivize attendees to use sustainable transportation by offering discounts or prizes for those who carpool, bike, or use public transportation. For example, you could offer a raffle prize for attendees who show a photo of them using public transportation to get to the event. Don’t forget to have them use your event hashtags!

Choose a venue that is easily accessible by public transportation. This can reduce the number of cars on the road and make it easier for attendees to get to the event. You can also consider hosting your event in a central location that is easily accessible by multiple modes of transportation, like bike lanes or pedestrian walkways.

Another option is to provide on-site transportation alternatives, such as shuttle buses or electric vehicles. This can reduce the need for attendees to use their own cars and also provide a unique and convenient experience for attendees.

So think about ways you can incentivize sustainable transportation and provide information on options to make it easier for attendees to make eco-friendly choices.

Strategy 5: Offset Carbon Emissions

Carbon emissions are generated by activities like travel and energy use, so it's important to consider ways to offset these emissions.

One way to do this is by investing in renewable energy or carbon reduction projects that help neutralize the environmental impact of your event.

First calculate the carbon emissions associated with your event. You can use an online carbon footprint calculator or work with a sustainability consultant. Once you have a baseline for your emissions, you can then explore different offsetting options.

Projects you could invest in include renewable energy projects like wind or solar power, or supporting reforestation projects that help absorb carbon from the atmosphere.

Another way is to choose a venue that uses renewable energy. For example, you could consider hosting your event at an LEED-certified venue.


So there we have it. Five strategies for creating a more sustainable event.

Reduce paper waste, use recyclable materials, serve sustainable food, encourage sustainable transportation, and offset carbon emissions.

Remember, sustainability isn't just good for the environment - it's also good for your brand and that is good for business.

By prioritizing sustainability in your event planning, you can attract environmentally conscious sponsors and attendees, reduce costs, and create a positive impact in your community.

What was your biggest takeaway from todays episode? Do you have your own strategies to share? Click on the link in the show notes and join us in the comments on our website.

And remember, if we don’t see you in the comments, let’s see you in the next episode!

Season 2

Lee Matthew Jackson

Content creator, speaker & event organiser. #MyLifesAMusical #EventProfs