How to Organize Sustainable Events

Keeping up with sustainable trends can be tough – knowing the right course of action to reduce your impact is not always easy.  If you are planning an event, reducing your impact on the environment is not only recommended, it’s expected.   There are many considerations when planning a sustainable event, but the biggest impact you will need to consider is the waste generated from food and beverage service.

sustainable event

Science World's Science of Cocktails fundraiser used compostable, custom printed cups to keep waste out of landfills. A sustainable event doesn't have to compromise on luxury. Photo by Michelle Hondl Photography


Here are 3 questions to guide your “zero waste” planning.  Incorporating sustainability into your event plan early on will allow you to focus engaging your guests rather than the garbage.

What story do your branded materials tell?

Everything you provide your guests is an opportunity to support your brand.  Building sustainability into your giveaways doesn’t have to be hard, just take the time to consider what those materials are, how they provide value to you and your guests and consider their end of life solution – a key concept in the circular economy.  

From the beer cups to the swag, you have a chance to tell your guests you care about the environment.  Don’t know about sustainable swag?  Ask our friends at Fairware.

Who are your partners and how do they support your sustainability goals?

Working towards sustainability means talking across departments and engaging in  collaborative partnerships to achieve your waste diversion goals.  You will end up in conversations with all kinds of people and organizations. A great example of collaboration is the Vancity “Zero Waste” approach – they have engaged community partnerships from source to end-of-life:

These community partnerships are all specialists in what they do and are happy to answer questions and work with you on your sustainable events planning. 

The Vancouver Folk Fest were one of the first festivals to achieve their waste reduction targets.  They have done this through partnerships, and volunteer and guest engagement. 

Folk Fest – Sustainability from Black Rhino Creative on Vimeo.

What have you learned and how are you improving?

Sustainability is a way of thinking, not just a way of operating and your journey learning about creating a sustainable event connects you to community and solutions that will elevate your brand.

You don’t need to be a sustainability expert to run a sustainable event, but you should have a good grasp on terminology and know when you need to engage the services of an expert.  Check out our blog on “biodegradable” vs. “compostable” as an example of correct “zero waste” terminology.  

Measuring how the event went is key.  You may not get to 100% waste diversion in your first year, but you will need to know where you’re at and where the gaps were to improve.  Eurofest will be aiming for “zero waste” for the third year in a row!  What are the takeaways for the next event?  Do your guests, vendors and waste haulers have feedback for you?  Your partnerships provide valuable insight that could be the key to unlocking your sustainable future.

Sustainable event

Volunteers at EuroFest help guest sort their waste. Eurofest achieved 95% diversion last year!

Connect with us to find out more about how to hold sustainable events!

Call 604-630-5115 or Email: 

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