Sustainable Events: a novel idea

Authors understand that readers don’t want to know about the mechanics of a books’ construction.  They don’t go to pains to explain the manufacture of the paper that made the printing of the pages possible.  Instead, they focus only on creating the best story with a goal of delivering a meaningful experience. 

Is there a lesson here for ‘green’ and sustainable event planners?  Do we get tangled up with trying to deliver a  ‘great sustainable event’ instead of  ‘a great event which happens to be sustainable’?

Often, event owners pursue a traditional planning approach, then attach sustainable elements as an afterthought.  Better to create an event which delivers on determined objectives but in a measured, sustainable way.

Email response to a planner who wanted to create a sustainable event for a corporate client:

“Try not to think of the sustainable elements as an ‘in your face’ thing, but a spirit within the event that gives the participant a deeper connection to the experience.  It’s not about having recycling containers everywhere. it’s about :

  • finding a cool venue (which is close to public transport and is powered by alternative energy and takes good care of it’s employees)
  • with stylish screens & lighting (energy efficient)
  • beautiful food & gorgeous cocktails (seasonal cuisine, crushed organic fruit & local beer in real glasses)
  • cutting edge event design (high tech networking elements, non traditional sessions, artful elements)
  • collaboration with a social entrepreneur or NGO to diversify and give a sense of purpose (CO2 emissions measured and offset to a project benefiting this group)”

Will sustainability-for-events sooner become  mainstream if we think of these practices not as a separate list of technical actions which confuse and burden us, but a guide and an outline for the story we wish to tell… for the experience we wish to give?

4 Responses

  1. In a word – YES. You know I could go on and on about this, but the essence of what you are saying is the thinking model we need of how to incorporate a sustainability lens into the event planning process from strategy to event design to event execution to measurable business outcomes.

  2. Love this post!! It’s so much what my company is about. Being green is just one small part of who we are.
    We are defined by green AV but it doesn’t define us.
    I often hear people say, “Midori’s company provides green AV” and it makes me cringe! Because Midori’s company provides AWESOME AV…and part of awesome AV is being focused on green :)

  3. [...] To read more visit the Less Conversation More Action blog. [...]

  4. Great post. I have to become more mindful of starting green, rather than starting and then going green.

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