Tis' the time for a Revolution
Nope, we are definitely not here to fill in the shoes of David Orr, Vandana Shiva or even Erin Brockovich… let’s leave that heavy duty to the ones that know best and that could pull off a full article on the subject in a blink of an eye.
Although we truly admire such devotion and have taken a pledge to be personally more environmentally conscious in 2017, what we wanted to do through this blog post is to give you the tools to organize a sustainable event and contribute to what we like to call the “Environmental Revolution”. In choosing this path, not only will you minimize your negative impact on the environment (saving the planet and its resources, yay!), but you will also communicate values to your guests and attendees to which THEY want to relate…. It is actually a proven fact that people want to participate in and buy from companies and events that reflect values that they share – isn’t global warming a global concern?
We don’t mean to depress you by bringing up the obvious climatic changes in the world such as longer growing seasons, heat waves, thawing permafrost or even earlier river ice break-up, but If we keep up with the current consuming trends, soon there won’t be anything worth celebrating anymore … think about it.
Def. relating to the natural world and the impact of human activity on its condition.
Def. a sudden, complete or marked change in something.
Oh, yes, we know that we are no clean apron — but just because we have been doing something the wrong way for a while does it mean that it can’t be adjusted and fixed??? We’d like to think not! The next 20 years will probably be decisive in the telling of human history and us here at RDK would very much like to contribute to it in a positive way. Below is a checklist of things to consider when organizing your event that will help lower its environmental impact.
1. Pick a green venue
In choosing the location in which you will be hosting your event, whether it would be a wedding or a conference, make sure to select a venue that is keen to hosting sustainable meeting operations. Try to choose one that has a clean energy portfolio and a preference for energy-efficient practices. In talking to your point contact at the venue, you may want to ask them their position and interest on the following below (this will give you a pretty good idea of where they stand):
1. Do they procure renewable energy and incorporate renewable environmental technologies into on-site options (such as solar, hydro or wind energy)?
2. Are they concerned about saving energy and have occupancy sensors in the boardroom or restroom?
3. Do they carry energy efficient lighting and equipment such as LED?
4. Do they have a no food waste policy (they may practice ongoing food donation and divert kitchen residuals and/or recycle kitchen grease)?
To find the perfect venue, make sure to check out Green Key Global’s program; an assessment tool made to help you determine a facility’s level of commitment to environmental issues.
2. Pick a central location
Rather than factoring the “wow effect” as your main preoccupation (there are so many other ways to “wow” your guests, you can trust us on that one!), consider screening for locations that are geographically central, well-connected by air and have good public transportation as this will consequently minimize the events carbon cost. As a matter of fact, travel to and from the event is generally one of the most environmentally damaging parts of an event. A recent study from the International Civil Aviation Organization showed that a round-trip from New Brunswick to Toronto produces a ¼ ton of emissions. This number may not resonate well or may not trigger any sort of reaction but let’s put this number into perspective. The average resident of an industrial nation emits about 11 metric tons YEARLY which means that in just one trip, a person will have consumed over 2% of his yearly average … Does this trigger anything?
3. Choose socially responsible vendors
Once again, we can’t stress this enough: go local! Promote local vendors which in turns, promotes the local agriculture and local economy, plus you will give the planet a break by avoiding unnecessary pollution generated by transportation. Choose a local printer who offers recyclable options and go for smaller local catering companies which will often provide you with better quality food. Discuss sustainability with vendors and suppliers and reward the ones that choose to offer great product and services in an environmentally and socially responsible way.
4. Promote the event the “Green way”
Reduce the amount of printed collateral and capitalize on digital and new technologies. In today’s landscape, you have more than enough options when it comes to creating fun and one-of-a-kind invitations but not only. Contact your venue and inquire about using TV screens and other digital walls to display your messages and indications/ guidelines. Use AR and VR to impress your guests and give them a memorable and multi-sensory event experience rather than using printed literature which will in most cases end up in the garbage (and barely be remembered). What you want is to be unique and stand out in your approach – use holographic invites or Google Cardboards rather than focusing your attention on printed material. And if you REALLY have to – opt for sustainable products for signage such as falcon board (a 100% recycle alternative to foam core which, in many cases costs the same). Talk to your local printing house and see what options they have lined up for you.
5. Anticipate and measure your events carbon footprint
Because nothing is worth doing unless you can measure the impact of your action. A few websites are here to help you calculate the carbon footprint of your events such as https://store.b-e-f.org/event-calculator/ or http://www.carbonfootprint.com. Both are great tools and although not always 100% accurate, do include electricity use, natural gas use (based on sq. feet), driving by number of cars/average distance, flying by four length categories, bus trips and much more – a good way to get started.
6. Communicate your strategy and goals with the public and encourage them to participate
And finally, we strongly encourage to communicate your involvement and the initiatives you have taken with your guests. There is no better way to support a cause then to discuss it …. That is how you pass the torch! Better yet, take it one step further by organizing a carbon footprint contest and give out a prize for the guest that will have consumed the less over the period of the event! At RDK we’re all about being instructive, engaging and fun… contact us now for more ideas! ;)
We know that no matter what, we will be taking part in the Environmental revolution. Question is, will you?
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