Ideas and tools to enhance sustainability during events

A recent industry survey highlighted cost and a lack of a clear mandate as a detrimental factor for organizations from making their gatherings more sustainable. While industry professionals explore long-brewing industry trend focusing on sustainability challenges and solutions, 62% of the survey respondents have adopted more sustainable purchasing behaviors for their organizations. 

Looking for meetings and spaces that have achieved a sustainability certification should be a first choice when choosing a venue. If such building does not exist in your preferred destination, some easy solutions can be worked-out with venues:

  • Plates, cups and utensils provided are reusable, compostable or come from recycled materials.
  • Food and drink choices contain locally sourced agriculture. 
  • Making the most of the natural environment by choosing meeting spaces offering views of the exterior and natural light.
  • Enclose spaces offering energy-saving LED lighting.
  • Water provided in the meeting on request and/or providing water station in reusable container, eliminating the individual serving plastic bottles.
  • Use of technology reducing transportation carbon-footprint by offering virtual and hybrid options. 
  • Select a destination, venue and caterers with good recycling and composting programs. 
  • Provide waste stations, signs and monitors to help exhibitors and attendees sort their waste.
  • Take advantage of improved donation programs particularly for food and exhibitors’ materials. 

To aid those who want to create more sustainable meetings look to follow the ISO 20121 sustainability standard for events. The linked document presents a concise overview of the ISO 20121 practical tool for managing events that contribute to the three dimensions of sustainability – economic, environmental and social. 

You are wrong if you think a sustainable event can’t be cost-effective and still decent. This myth has been plaguing event professionals making it seem like it’s an impossible feat to host amazing events and reduce the impact on the environment. While meeting practices are a fine art, once you have those processes in place – and really understand the green meetings definition – they are highly rewarding. Making efforts towards running greener and more sustainable events can offer lots of benefits. 

We hope this article will inspire your organizations to start making your events more environmentally focused. Check this “Green Meeting Checklist” to get you started. 


Marilyne Bouteiller, a Sales and Marketing Professional and French native, has written short stories for various publications since 2011. As a child, she traveled much of Europe and got into the hospitality industry to follow her love for food and travel. She was exposed to different cultures at an early age, and now enjoys writing about her experiences for i-Meet, the Worldwide Business Community for people who plan meetings and events. Follow her on Instagram @thefrenchinme.


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