FIVE TOP TIPS TO HOSTING SUSTAINABLE (AND EPIC) EVENTS
Here are five easy and practical tips to help you, and all in our industry, host epic events that are better for your customers and the environment.
One of the biggest positives that came out of the last tumultuous year is it reinforced just how important sustainability is. It wasn’t just that we became more conscious about what we consumed and recycled at home (which we did). But it also made us focus on sustainability at Because, and how we, as an agency, go about delivering showstopper experiences for our partners and clients around the world, especially as the emphasis on ‘live’ returns.
Sustainability has always been important to us, and as a team we’ve always enjoyed doing meaningful work for CSR programs. But these days, it’s become a bit of a north star for the way we also try to operate. Sustainability, in the world of brand experience, is about offering high-impact events that are low-impact on the environment – especially possible now that we’ve got a heap of digital experience tools to play with too.
At Because we have a Champion Team focused on considering the issue of Climate Change and what we can do to manage and influence our global carbon footprint within our agency and our supply chain. In our many discussions about how we can be better, we’ve come up with some practical tips to help us on our sustainability journey, which we thought would be of use to anyone wanting to host more sustainable events (or to become a more sustainability-focused agency). So, here are five simple starter tips from out Champion Team. One disclaimer: we know there is so much more that can be done, but we're learning as we go, so expect to see more from us in time to come.
1. Say 'hell no' to single-use plastic.
Yes, this is a no-brainer, but try to avoid and discourage single-use plastic when hosting events. Why not incentivise visitors to BYO drinking bottles or offer your own branded reusable ones. A good example: we created an award-winning water-saving campaign for Sydney Water that used gamification to save over 17,000 plastic bottles from entering landfills and waterways! You can also use recycled cutlery, stationary, decorations, and packaging, and drop the lame plastic lanyards, name tags and welcome packs (see point 5) there are creative-tech solutions here that'll earn you plenty of street cred. And whatever you do, don’t use balloons. Or sky lanterns. Ever. Enough said.
2. Be particular about your partners and props.
We all rely on suppliers when delivering large-scale events, so you need to hold your partners to the same standards. What materials do they plan to use and what certifications do they have? Are there any event props or furniture that you’re making which can be re-used or recycled? There are also specialist event hire companies like Green Clover who pick up and reuse (or recycle) all event items. Ask your supply chain what they’re doing which will help you to achieve your sustainability goals, and if it isn’t enough, then find someone else to work with.
3. rethink your power providers.
You can start with minimising power wastage by working with a good contractor, but the first prize is to use renewable energy. We’ve been working with British Gas for decades, and even as far back as in 2011 we used a solar-powered shipping container as part of our event experience. Not only did it promote and demonstrate innovative technologies, but it also powered our pop-up Sustainability Café and minimised our fossil fuel consumption. But that’s just the tip of the sustainable iceberg, there are many incredible renewable power technologies available, such as energy harvesting walkways, kinetic dancefloors, or even offering payment in kinetic energy like this new-age food truck.
4. use a smarter waste management system.
It doesn’t have to be hugely complicated or expensive: start by making it easier for attendees to recycle. Get creative with these: make your bins brightly coloured and easily identifiable. If it’s a family event, you could associate different characters with each so that they're memorable. Donation bins for old clothes and shoes can be a great charity element with a recycling benefit too. You can also offer value for people bringing in waste or recycling: this event rewarded plastic bottle donations with free parking to help drive awareness for reducing plastic in the ocean. Hellman’s created a powerful campaign called Real Food Rescue to drive waste awareness. They collected ‘waste’ food from grocery stores to cook up an amazing (and tasty!) eating experience for thousands of stadium fans.
5. share digital swag.
Yes, we know that some goody bags are amazing, but offering them at large-scale events produces insane amounts of plastic. The challenge here: how can you deliver something digitally that still generates that same excitement? We like digital exclusivity in gift cards or lesson tickets. We’re HUGE believers in using digital tokens too. You can also consider replacing merchandise giveaways with charity donations in your patron’s honour. Who’s going to say no to that!
So wrapping up…
Appointing a Champion Team to drive sustainability within the business has really helped us focus on our goals as a global agency. These 5 tips are just a start, but there’s truth in the saying, ‘every little bit counts’, and we’re doing our best to do our bit. We hope you’ll join us on this journey.
There’s plenty more where this came from, like using innovative creative tech such as Virtual Atoms and NFTs that can help you deliver a sustainable live event worth talking about. If you want a little help, we’d love to partner up. Start by giving us a shout here, or registering for a Masterclass.
I have over 15 years of experience in delivering award-winning campaigns across a multitude of marketing sectors in New York, London,
Singapore and Hong Kong.