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Greener Events Checklist

10 Mar 10 By: Lene McGuinness

Venue choice (and equipment)

  • Choose a venue that has good access via public transport & for disabled people
  • Ask potential venues for their in-house environmental policy and priorities
  • Choose a venue interested in sustainability issues, and tell them that's why you chose them
  • Venues offering in-house technical equipment & support (eg staging, audio visual) can reduce equipment transportation
  • Consider hiring rather than purchasing equipment; specify the most efficient available
  • Consider video conferencing and/or recording the event for wider (internet access)<

CO2 Emissions (including travel)

  • Take measures to reduce CO2 emmissions from delegates travelling to the venue, ie provide information about local public transport (with pedestrian routes) and encourage its use.  Where appropriate promote car sharing eg circulate attendees list in advance
  • Minimise unnecessary lighting, heating / air-conditioning
  • Offset CO2 emissions arising from the event

Catering & Locally Produced Food

  • Plan food requirements carefully to avoid unnecessary waste (eg, use event registration form to obtain information
  • Ensure that dietary requirements are catered for and offer vegetarian choices
  • Plan meals using seasonal local produce wherever possible.  Consider organic produce
  • If serving fish, use fish from sustainable sources
  • Wherever possible ensure fruit is provided as an alternative to sweet desserts
  • Left over food; consider donating to local charity or sending for composting
  • Ensure tea/coffee is Fair Trade and provide tap water as an alternative (if you must use bottled water, make sure it is local!
  • Minimise use of individually packaged food/drink items (eg provide milk / cream in jugs rather than individual plastic cartons)
  • Use reusable crockery, glassware & cutlery where possible (to reduce waste)

Reducing Waste (& costs)
Pre Event:

  • Use websites & email lists to promote the event
  • Use double-sided printing for promotional materials and handouts.
  • Use recycled paper where possible without laminating it
  • Use easily transportable and reusable display materials
  • Seek naturally light meeting and exhibition areas
  • Format any handouts so as to minimise the amount of paper used
  • Where possible, write material in a re-usable format (general rather than event specific)
  • Minimise the length of the registration form or use electronic registration where possible and publish the event itinerary on-line
  • Ask the venue to recycle paper and cardboard waste etc - and to provide suitable recycling bins
  • If required, make your own note pads from scrap paper

At the Event:

  • If you are providing delegate packs (if in a folder, make it re-usable) give these to delegates when they register on arrival - not beforehand - to avoid duplication
  • Avoid mass distribution of handouts - allow attendees to download copies from the internet
  • Ensure presenters are aware of electronic presentation facilities and that their presentation will be distributed electronically after the event
  • Provide re-usable name badges (and remember to collect them at the end of the event!)
  • Minimise use of accessories that are harmful to the environment (eg, plastic leaflet wallets)
  • Feature conference name & date on title slide rather than single use stage set graphics
  • Minimise use of high wattage stage lighting
  • Promote energy & water efficiency to participants - eg, switch off lights when rooms are not in use
  • Use drymark eraser boards rather than paper in workshop presentations
  • Request that any unused items be collected for use at another event
  • Consider including a sustainability activity/session within the conference to raise awareness

Post Event:

  • If not issued at the event, send out delegate feedback questionnaire by email
  • Give any feedback you have to the venue

This checklist is produced courtesy of the Government Office for the South West, Jan 2010 (first published July 2005)