Sustainability extends beyond “going green” and into wellness and logistics.
Event marketers used to think of “going green” and immediately turn to digital apps to eliminate paper waste and posting recycling bins in event sites. But these elements are now ubiquitous in events, and for marketers, a new bar has been set: sustainability. Sustainability encompasses a wide variety of actions that can benefit the earth, benefit attendees and their health, and benefit the event budget. Take biking as an alternative to event-site shuttling. There’s less fuel waste, fewer half-empty vehicles, and attendees benefitting from fresh air and exercise.
Here’s a look at three other areas of sustainability worth exploring for your events.
Repurposed Spaces: New York City-based startup Spacious is taking advantage of the 2,000 restaurant spaces in the city that remain closed each day until 6 p.m., offering them up for small events, meetings and freelance workspaces. Folks can take advantage of it via a $95 monthly pass, or $29 drop-in rate. There’s a host, local coffee, a playlist with tunes and wi-fi. For the restaurants, there’s the added benefit of netting a bit of extra income that could be spent on higher quality, local foods, or on other food experiences and staff. Co-working spaces not only offer the casual settings that modern attendees crave, they’re eliminating wasteful use of larger office spaces and the concept of the office park.
Food Waste: Procuring food is one of the costliest impacts on the environment due to the transportation needed. It’s why digital offerings like foodmiles.com are helping event planners make educated choices about food service. Oracle OpenWorld sources produce from farms in the Bay Area, paying close attention to the miles it takes for the food to arrive. Less fuel waste and nutrient-rich local foods — a win-win. Other ideas: repurposed food. Some 40 percent of the food in the U.S. is wasted, and with that statistic in mind, Portland-based Salt & Straw made headlines for creating ice cream flavors made from food like bruised apples that would have otherwise went into the trash.
Wellness: Sustainability plays a role in event engagement and atmosphere, too. Take, for example, lounge spaces transformed into environmentally-focused recharging stations. Humanscale’s Re:Charge café during Milan Design Week included charging stations, biological lighting that mimicked circadian rhythms, an air-purifying wall of vertical plants and chairs made from environmentally-friendly materials. Heineken at Coachella 2017 re-installed its kinetic dance floor that powers the space by the movement of dancing attendees.
There’s nothing like doing what feels good and does good, too.