Events are a great marketing tool for reaching wider audiences, building new relationships and establishing clients as thought leaders in their fields. So, it is not surprising that marketing events, and the companies and associations who produce them, are pushing for greener options. Not only is it good for business, but it’s the right thing to do. Here are some ways you can incorporate greener events into your marketing strategies:
- Reduce Paper Consumption and Go Digital
Printed invitations, multi-page brochures, binders full of course materials, presentations, banners, and signs, oh my… The typical marketing, networking or educational event can consume a tremendous amount of paper. Reducing the amount paper and going digital will not only be kinder to the environment, but reduce a tremendous amount of waste. If you have ever worked an event, you know how much of that material gets left behind and tossed.
While most marketers have significantly cut back on printed invitations and brochures in the 2000s, or at least we hope you did, green marketers are finding new and creative ways to reduce consumption. QR codes used to download event and sponsor materials, virtual swag bags, digital signage in conference centers, mobile apps for tracking attendees, and expanded use of social media are all part of the developing technologies making an event marketers job easier to go green.
- How Green is Your Event Venue
Finding the right venue is always a challenge – location, price, availability, AV, food and beverage – these are the typical things that run through our minds. But now event marketers are taking it one step further and adding greener considerations like recycling, food waste and a venue’s overall commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. Your banqueting manager should be well versed in the venue’s policies and can work with you to meet your green goals.
While you may not be able to control everything the venue does, there are a couple key items to keep an eye on for your event. Number one is recycling bins – they should be grouped together and displayed prominently in the space. The number one reason people discard recyclable items is that they couldn’t find the recycle bin. The easier it is, the more likely your guests are to recycle.
Another big area of waste is food. Sitting next to those piles of discarded presentations and course materials are uneaten cheese platters and the leftover bowls of hummus. A tremendous amount of food and beverages get wasted at events, but that doesn’t always need to be the case. Venues are now beginning to work with non-profit organizations who can rescue the food or direct it to composting centers. Check out the great work being done by City Harvest or The Food Recovery Network.
- Change Up and Green Up Your Swag
Who doesn’t love a great giveaway? One of the highlights of any conference or convention is sifting through the coveted swag bag. Branded items are a great way for sponsors to reach new clients and grow name recognition. Unfortunately, many of these items wind up in the trash or are not at all environmentally friendly. But have no fear. There are a growing number of companies out there that are creating new and exciting environmentally friendly and green giveaways. All you have to do is a quick internet search, but we’ve made it even easier for you with the below greener swag options:
- Stainless steel straws
- Bamboo utensil sets
- Reusable tote or lunch bags
- Eco pens and pencils – crafted in bamboo or wood
- Reusable water bottles
- Recycled paper journals and notebooks
- Ceramic travel mugs and tumblers
- Wheat straw charging pad or speaker
No matter what changes you make to your next event; the key is to start thinking green. The more we focus on recycling, sustainability and reducing waste, the greater the number of solutions and options will begin to present themselves. We can continue to produce the great events we love, while making a difference for our environment and future generations.