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Designing a Greener Future with Sustainable Event Planning

Blog Updated: June 28 2024
Sustainable event planning representation to reflect mitigating and reducing environmental footprint.

Communal events are part of our cultures, livelihoods, and professions. That isn’t likely to change anytime soon. In fact, a recent study from Global Market Research indicates that the global events industry will reach a yearly revenue of over $2 trillion by 2032.

With waste and emissions rising throughout the industry, event planners and venue operators must begin considering how to add sustainability to the menu for an even more meaningful and impactful soiree.

It sounds like it might take a seasoned professional to make an impact, though, right?

The truth is, it’s far more achievable than it sounds. New applications with modern technologies can help guide you. This is your opportunity to get the most efficient and effective solutions for any event. Let these green living tips guide you.

Sustainability: A Relatively New Concept for the Events Industry

For many people, sustainable practices can seem abstract. Sustainability takes on a very tangible and practical role within the event industry. Events can leave a lasting impact on guests, as well as the environment. The lasting effect these gatherings have on other people and the planet is often less considered.

Incorporating social and environmental responsibility into the event industry is a necessary response to our planetary crisis. It provides undeniable opportunities to better align with global awareness goals.

The Challenges of Sustainable Event Planning

Traditional event planning and execution rely heavily on trial and error. Unfortunately, this makes events far less sustainable than they could be.

Planners must execute event mock-ups to find harmony within a space. They play with physical objects to test different design layouts. The goal is to discover optimal event execution and guest satisfaction. Planners must also consider material and resource use. While those factors impact their bottom line, they can also significantly affect overall waste accumulation and event costs.

These challenges are a few of the barriers blocking the event industry from moving to a more sustainable model. Strategic planning and preparation mitigate the challenges. In fact, the right strategy can present multiple benefits.

The Benefits of Sustainable Event Planning

Adopting eco-friendly event planning provides limitless benefits. Efficient energy consumption allows venues to potentially cut back on costs while keeping events running. Recycling and waste reduction have positive impacts on the environment. Sustainable transportation also allows event planners to reduce some of the traditional impacts of event planning and execution. Businesses and personal events have an incredible opportunity to successfully implement sustainable event planning.

1. Economic Advantages

One of the biggest perks of sustainable events is the economic advantage. Simply put, sustainability can lead to a reduction in costs. This surprises people who view green efforts as a waste. However, environmental sustainability does not necessarily correlate with cost.

Reducing water and energy use, limiting the time and travel needed for planning, and locally sourcing event materials can lower an event’s carbon footprint, uplift adjacent communities, and support local businesses.

2. Alignment with Global Green Initiatives

Align with global green initiatives and sustainability frameworks. It’s a great way to garner stakeholders and sponsors. Look into attending business and green initiative events. It shows a commitment to sustainability. You may find that it opens pathways to reinforce brand identity and financial growth.

3. Alignment with the Modern Consumer

The modern consumer responds positively when companies embrace sustainability. People generally prefer to support eco-friendly efforts. How does a company show they care? One answer is corporate social responsibility (CSR). Establishing a CSR plan demonstrates social and environmental responsibility. An organization that proves they listen to consumers’ demands will offer sustainable solutions.

Organizing sustainable events boosts credibility and puts your brand in a positive light. There are distinct benefits to encouraging loyalty and guest satisfaction. It ultimately sways consumers in your favor. Environmental best practices can give you a leg up from the competition. Please note that such efforts need to be sincere. Otherwise, it’s just greenwashing. Companies that get exposed for greenwashing can expect a sincere and quick backlash.

Image of a sustainable event where defocused participants mingled amidst the various ecofriendly displays.

Sustainability Across Event Spectrums

Many events are engrained in our society, marking life milestones and creating lasting memories. Still, it’s imperative to transform them to benefit the future of our planet. With the right tools and mindset, we can change how we conduct and approach these events for the better.

Weddings

There were 2.5 million weddings in the United States in 2022! This industry’s extravagance provides an easy way to alter the traditional wedding planning approach. Industry workers can turn the tides on waste and cost.

Decor, balloons, food, lighting, and so much more contribute to these events’ inefficiency. People will always love fun and frivolity. However, society constantly shifts. Providing reliable, sustainable, future-focused solutions will be critical in creating positive change for our environment. Customers, and legislation, may require changes sooner than later.

Corporate Events

More and more companies are developing green company cultures. Orgs will outline sustainable development goals and strategies. Weaving social and environmental awareness into corporate events is becoming critical to corporations’ staying power. Sustainable solutions can extend far beyond daily operations. Events must be conducted with the same integrity.

With the right tools and direction, corporate events can be planned and executed with far less environmental impact. Using virtual events or choosing a green venue shows a strong commitment to fostering environmental stewardship. You can leave stakeholders with no questions about a business’s stance on sustainability.

Non-Profits and Fundraising

Building sustainability into non-profit and fundraising events furthers social justice. Adopting environmental responsibility should also be a priority as they aim to uplift society, and their efforts and leadership can help perpetuate the hope they bring to our future.

Meeting Sustainability Goals with Greener Events

Event leaders play a significant role. This isn’t just in making sure an event is a success. They set a precedent for sustainability. Venue managers, event managers, event coordinators, and other event professionals have a unique opportunity. They can choose to integrate sustainable practices into event execution. Educating others throughout the process – all while meeting or exceeding an organization’s sustainability goals – is vital to sustainable event planning.

Sustainability Reporting

Today, nearly all of the top 250 global companies report on sustainability. Many use internationally recognized and trusted sustainability reporting frameworks. The frameworks use global sustainability standards set by the UN, US, and even individual states. This reporting acts as a way for organizations to support global initiatives. They transparently communicate sustainability progress to stakeholders and the public.

By using green technologies and services, companies can better strategize to meet their internal sustainability goals. This also prepares employees and leaders for annual sustainability reporting. Everything from travel emissions to material waste can be minimized using green technologies. Changes can be implemented in every stage of an event, from planning to execution.

Supply Chain Efficiency

Have you heard of Scope 3 emissions? They are also called supply chain emissions. These are indirect emissions not owned or controlled by an organization but fall within its value chain. It starts with the emissions coming from transportation and distribution. So, even if you regularly bike to work, if your equipment gets shipped to you, then that supply chain travel is Scope 3. Other examples of these emissions can include operational waste generation, employee commuting, leased assets, and so on. How does Scope 3 affect venues and planners?

For corporate events, this could include things like rented or leased spaces, material and service transportation for setup, waste generated from event planning, and more. By incorporating sustainable event planning practices into the process, you can eliminate many of the value chain emissions seen throughout the planning process.

Using immersive 3-D technologies like digital twins can help plan your space or event to perfection. This cuts down on those Scope 3 emissions. Not only will you eliminate energy, waste, and resource use throughout planning, but come event time, you will have dialed in the right approach to minimize or eliminate waste throughout the actual event. If you happen to not be familiar with digital twins, we’ll cover designing with them further down below.

Stakeholder and Customer Alignment

Investors and the public heavily support or invest in companies that take a clear stance on sustainability. In fact, up to 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands or services. One simple way an organization could raise this goodwill is by reporting on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance). Another is when companies run “giving back to” programs or initiatives to support local communities or the environment. In-house initiatives that make a product or service better for people and the planet may pay off as well.

Adopting green technologies and services is one sure way to become more impactful. In the corporate event setting, this could mean ditching disposable kitchenware. You could try putting up refillable water bottle stations. A great option is to choose energy-efficient venues for events.

Still, event hosts can take it a step further. Integrating green technologies into the planning process improves the impact. Skipping the destructive steps of event planning offers a straightforward way to communicate intention and commitment. This enables planners to operate more sustainably across events and collaborations, all while saving money and resources that would otherwise go to waste.

Where to Start?

Sustainability can start small. First, you should try choosing an environmentally friendly venue. Next, select vendors that source locally. Finally, connecting with businesses that value eco-friendly processes can unlock an event’s overall sustainability.

There are many places to begin, whether small or large, every journey starts somewhere.

  • Recycling
  • Reducing waste
  • Opting for reusable materials
  • No single-use items
  • Streamlining transportation

As we leap into the digital world, technology is increasingly instrumental in event coordination. Some technologies are unmatched in their ability to support sustainability. One of the best and most effective tools in a planner’s arsenal lies in the virtual venue software of digital twins.

Designing with Digital Twin Technology

There’s no better feeling than when an event goes off without a hitch. The satisfaction of curating the precise food and beverage ratio or guests utilizing spaces according to vision is its own kind of natural high.

Humans desire symmetry. We’re drawn to the seamless interaction of materials. As mentioned earlier, people want to experiment with mock-ups to find the ideal balance within a space. Virtual spatial design allows them to explore infinite possibilities without imposing environmental impacts on the planet.

What Do Digital Twins Do?

Virtual tour software like digital twins provide a virtual replica or “twin” of a physical space, object, process, or system. Simply put, they harness the power of technology to make events more sustainable and less costly. Through digital twin technology, resources have an exact use and function, allowing for responsible material management and thoughtful planning that does not hinder our planet’s progression.

How Do They Do It?

Predictive analytics and real-time insights allow for efficient resource use and tracking. Event planners take these tools and knowledge to make better informed decisions in all aspects of an event lifecycle.

Digital twins reduce waste at every turn. They permeate beyond the boundaries of physical materials. This provides limitless virtual design iterations in every space imaginable until the perfect fit and flow are found. There are no design limits based on region, location, or objects available to you. With digital twins, clients can now access and visualize the space of their dreams while significantly lowering environmental impacts.

Prismm captures a true-life digital representation (a digital twin) of physical environments with an immersive spatial design technology platform that transcends the limitations of a real space. Able to show the full spectrum of potential layouts, organizations can edit the digital twin to match the customer’s requirements exactly. Businesses can plan, design, and visualize spaces in unity with customers – wherever they are. If you want to explore sustainable event planning with the Prismm platform, create an account today.

Want to see what Prismm’s digital twins
can do for you? Book a demo today!

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