How To Plan A Sustainable Event

Any event can be both sustainable and successful. Even if you only implement a couple of the ideas we’ve mentioned here, it will make a big difference.

A sustainable event restores and conserves precious resources, supports and honors those who are involved, adds to the value of the local community and economy, and it educates all participants involved on the advantages of sustainability. It just takes commitment and vision.

Get Started

  • Get Members Of The Planning Process Involved: Get members of the planning committee on board with creating and contributing to a sustainable event. Set your goals, discuss your criteria, set your outcomes, and come up with the means of measuring them.
  • Have Meetings At Sites That Are Accessible By Transit: Have event planning meetings at sites that are accessible by transit (metro, train, tram, trolley, bus). Or, if your event planning staff can walk or bike to the event, that’s even better.
  • Publicize Your Event Sustainability Goal: Publicize your goal of setting up a sustainable event in your outreach materials and in your communications with potential contractors, participants, presenters, funders, and sponsors.
  • Do A Lot Of Research On Event Sites: You have to choose companies, firms, and individuals to service your event who are committed to sustainable practices. This can be a little tricky. Choose contractors (caterers, organizers, etc.) and suppliers (bio-ware manufacturers, printers, paper, etc.) that have committed to sustainable business practices. It can be a little easier to find suppliers of “green” products, but finding contractors who are dedicated to a sustainable approach is a little harder.

Plan The Event

  • Pick A Site That Is Close To Public Transportation: Choose a site that is near public transportation or even offer a shuttle service. You need to publicize all the transit choices in outreach materials.
  • Find Out If The Managers Of The Facility Have Adopted Sustainable Practices: Learn whether or not the facility managers buy locally sourced materials and food. Do they conserve water and energy? Do they use green construction materials? Find out if they are willing to work with the planning committee to improve the environmental performance of the site before the event.

The Presenters

  • Pinpoint Local Presenters: Find local presenters and other experts to public local initiatives and find talent.
  • Look Through The National Index Of Green Hotels: Look through the national list of green hotels to find potential rooms for out-of-town guests. Talk to the planning committee and others to host the presenters.

Publicity And Registration

  • Distribution Information By Email: Distribution ‘save the date’ information by email, listservs, websites, and other electronic means to cut down on paper use.
  • Offer Online Registration: Try to do as little as you can by paper. It is better to most everything on the Internet. There are even event apps that will make this process a whole lot easier. You don’t need to waste paper anymore.


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