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There are a mass of options available to make events more sustainable. This can bring uncertainty to many MICE planners who are then unsure of where to start. We want to help you take the first steps with nine specific tips.
1. Paperless invitations
Digital invitations are already standard in many places. You can save paper and avoid unnecessary dispatch processes while also having the option to attach videos. Digital invitations are also ideal for state-of-the-art storytelling by issuing a series of communications and allowing participants to anticipate locations and activities. And you can link online requests for food intolerances and dietary needs. You can then instantly find out what kind of catering you need to provide.
2. Destination selection and travel
Transport accounts for 70 % of all emissions at events. This also creates opportunities for plenty of savings. Perhaps it’s possible for the event to take place locally, or for participants to use public transport. Perhaps event train tickets can be organised for Deutsche Bahn? Even if a flight cannot be avoided, carbon emissions can be reduced by using direct flights because fuel is consumed most during take-off and landing. Therefore, a charter flight might be a solution. And for scheduled flights? Book economy instead of business class because more passengers can then be flown using the same amount of fuel.
3. Lightweight luggage
Ask guests to travel light to help protect the environment. Perhaps hand luggage will be sufficient? Reducing luggage by 15 kg can save up to 200 kg of carbon emissions on a return flight between London and Tenerife.
4. Sustainable hotels
The first stop after arrival is usually the hotel. Green alternatives are also available here. Seek out hotels that have sustainability certificates. Zero-energy hotels now exist that generate their own electricity.
Do you want to start small? A good start is accommodation providing breakfast with regional and seasonal organic products.
5. Green local transport
The ideal scenario would be hotel and event locations that are nearby. But what if the next item on the itinerary is not within walking distance? Then you could use bicycle taxis or public transport. Not an option? Then ‘green taxis’ with hybrid or gas engines are a good alternative. Seeking out sustainable transport is best done at the planning stage.
6. Plastic-free and meat-free catering
When it comes to catering, the maxim is plastic-free and meat-free. Caterers offering both have been around for a long time, elegantly arranging high-quality meals in glasses and using porcelain and slate instead of plastic. The list of benefits is long: you avoid unnecessary packaging, get better-tasting food thanks to seasonal ingredients and save lots of carbon. While the production of 1 kg of beef results in 12.3 kg of CO2, 1 kg of vegetables creates just 200 grams. Another plus: vegetarian catering is generally cheaper. That’s it? Almost. When choosing a provider, the shortest journey should ideally also be considered.
7. Fairly paid personnel
You can’t have catering without drivers, nor service without waiters, nor clean locations without cleaning staff. The social component of sustainability is still rarely considered, but by paying attention to the fair payment of staff, you can really start speaking of sustainable events.
8. Sustainable activities
Especially important for incentives are the activities on offer. So ask yourself: Is a motorboat trip absolutely necessary? Is giving up a desert buggy tour really so bad? Or could at least some of the activities be replaced by more sustainable ones? Freediving, cliff jumping, forest concerts, river hikes or ice bike rides are exciting alternative activities that trend destinations are offering. They don’t have to be less action-packed or out of the ordinary and can even open up completely new perspectives. Ultimately, it’s always the complete package that counts. And sometimes there needs to be an exception. But every step counts.
9. Carbon offsetting
So what about the carbon that can’t be saved? It can at least be offset. Even for the entire event with atmosfair.de. The certification can then be sent to participants after the event. By email of course.