5 Steps Towards Sustainability In Event Planning

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. This saying is often heard when planning an event, and it can also be applied when ensuring sustainability in an event.

The first step in making an event sustainable is thorough planning.

You must identify and assess any environmental impacts your event will create, deciding on the biggest impact, to maximise your plan.

Once identified, you can create a SMART objective for each impact. This ensures each step is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound. By doing this, you can create a breakdown of each step, ensuring maximum outcome, and allowing you to improve on this for future events.

Below we have listed some of the ways you can plan your event towards sustainability.

1. Location Accessibility

The first, and probably most obvious point, is the accessibility of your location! Consider these things…

  • Is your event location accessible through public transportation/ walking? It’s a good idea to check the location is within close proximity to train stations and bus stops.
  • By making your event easily accessible, you can reduce your carbon footprint!
  • You can also go the extra mile to designate a headquarter hotel within walking distance to the venue, for any attendees wishing to stay overnight – taking miles off road.

Examples of Accessible Venues in Liverpool:

All these venues are within a 15 minute walk of Liverpool Lime Street train station – Liverpool’s mainline station.

2. Food and Drink Considerations

Food and drink at events contribute to some of the biggest waste problems at events – let’s take a look at how you can combat it.

  • Consider reusable cups and water bottles. This won’t just reduce waste from needless plastic, but it also encourages people to drink more water and stay well hydrated.
  • If you’re serving tea & coffee, ask the venue to serve these in proper mugs, rather than single use alternatives.
  • Offer free water fountains around the venue to discourage people from buying bottled water.
  • Consider purchasing vegetarian, gluten free and vegan options. Not only does this help the planet, you’ll also be catering for various dietary requirements – win, win!
  • Why not purchase your food from local suppliers and farms? This will help reduce the distance food has to travel to your event, and it’s likely to taste much fresher!
  • When planning to order food, carefully check your attendee numbers to avoid ordering too much and creating waste. If you had food left over, donate it to local soup kitchens/ organisations who could put it to good use. Our team can help you with this, please just get in touch.

What We’re Doing:

We’re provided all of our team with branded, reusable water bottles to take out and about to meetings, exhibitions and events. This is a great way to get your brand out there, whilst saving the environment. Our bottles have traveled as far as London, New York and Jamaica!

3. Go Paperless

People have adapted to things being digital, so there’s no excuse for unnecessary paper!

  • When planning your event, try to keep printing to a minimum. Do you really need to print the day’s agenda numerous times? Upload it to Google Drive and give the people who need to see it the correct access.
  • Swap your printed advertising for digital alternatives. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google all offer extremely targeted advertising – it may even be cheaper than traditional advertising.
  • Swap those printed tickets for a digital version! Poken is a fantastic example of this – a fully integrated event engagement system.
  • Instead of printing off an events guide, why not upload it to an online PDF viewer instead? We use FlipHTML5.

What We’re Doing:

We produce the annual Liverpool City Region Venue Directory and we’re currently working on how we can make this more environmentally friendly, such as printing less copies and circulating it further by using digital methods!

4. Get Strict

We all have a part to play in ensuring events our sustainable, that includes your suppliers, exhibitions, partners and so on.

  • Ban all single use plastics at your event. This may seem drastic, but it’s definitely something that can make a difference. Live Nation plan to ban all single use plastic from their events and festival from 2021.
  • Ask exhibitors not to hand out paper collateral. If you consider using a system like Poken, attendees can have their badge scanned and sent everything they need from each exhibitor digitally.

What We’re Doing:

We encourage all event organisers to think bold and do things a little differently. If you need any encouragement or ideas, get in touch – we’d be more than happy to help.

5. Cut Out The Gifts

Event organisers often feel like they need to give out gifts like pens, rulers, key rings etc…

  • If you usually hand out free gifts such as pens, badges, pots and more, why not swap these for something else? You could hand out environmentally friendly gifts, or better yet, swap it for food and drink – this always goes down a treat!

Our Top Tip:

Get in touch with your local merchandise specialist – they may have a special environmentally friendly range you could check out.

If you’re looking at bringing your next event to Liverpool and making it more sustainable, please get in touch with our team.


This blog has been written by Rachel Mullin, Convention Bureau Assistant at Marketing Liverpool.
Rachel is 23 years old and is from Liverpool. She love musicals, all animals, and drinking gin on rooftop bars!

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