Top Ten Green Event Tips

February 4, 2011 : General Team Building

Maximillion has been running green events for a number of years and has won many industry green awards and accreditations including the coveted Scottish Tourism Thistle Award for Sustainable Tourism and the Green Tourism Business Scheme’s Gold Award.  Running a green event can be a complex and time consuming process, but there are some simple “quick wins” that any event can benefit from to make your event management a little greener.

Here are our top ten tips on greener event management:

1. Location

Choose a location which is central to all attendees and has good (easy) public transport links.  Getting your people to the event can have one of the biggest carbon footprints, so early planning around this is key to a greener footprint. For example, if everyone lives in and around Edinburgh, have it in Edinburgh!

2. Venue

Choose a venue which again is close to public transport links.  And make sure it has a robust sustainability policy. The best way of authenticating this is to check they are accredited by a recognised external body which required an onsite audit.  The Green Tourism Business Scheme is one of the best and offers Bronze, Silver and Gold standards.

3. Transport

Yes, I’m harping on about transport again, but it’s important and one of the hardest ones to get right. Once you have got the right location and a green venue, you need to encourage your guests to walk, cycle, or use public transport. If that’s not appropriate, then hire a coach and as a last resort car share. Never cars driven solo! An incentive scheme to encourage this could be considered.

4. Food & Drink

Local and in season is the name of the game! Watch out for those food miles so insist on local produce with your food and drink. This also gives a local economic benefit, another important consideration.  Never bottled water, and if you’re drinking wine, European wines have fewer “wine miles” than those from the southern hemisphere. Think about food waste and what happens to it – keep it clear of landfill!

5. Reduce

The first of the three “R’s”.  Work hard to reduce all the materials you might use.  Put all pre-event communication on-line, minimise handouts, get rid of goody bags. It’s all about de-cluttering your event and concentrating on the content!

6. Reuse

Do all your materials have to be brand spanking new? Make notepads with scrap paper and put all those pens knocking around the office to good use.  Where you do have to print materials, use recycled stock and if that’s not available, use FSC approved stationery.  Anything left over after the event should be examined with a critical eye to determine if it has to go in the bin or could it be used again.  So much unnecessary waste in events, its madness!

7. Recycle

The third and last resort of the three R’s. Recycling should only be done if you really honestly can’t reuse.  Can you aim for zero waste on your event?  No reason why not if you try hard.

8. Supply Chain

Everyone has their favourite and trusted suppliers but try and use local ones.  It’s less carbon on supplier transport and delivery and it’s good for the local economy.  If you have time, you should “green your supply chain”; check that suppliers are sustainable and if possible accredited by a recognised scheme.

9. Communication

There is a lot suggested in tips 1-8 which might impact negatively on the guest experience.  How would you feel if you turned up at a smart conference and you had to use an old bic pen and scrap paper?  So pre-event and on-event communication is vital to tell your guests what to expect and why.  Use the event as an opportunity to educate and inform guests about sustainability. Consider a green team building energiser to help with the message!

10. Community Benefit

Define what your local community looks like for the event. If you’re based in a city centre then that’s harder, but not impossible.  How can your event leave a positive legacy?  It will depend on the scale, but rural communities in particular are populated by micro businesses and these should used as widely as possible to support them. Can you get schools and local charities involved?


Maximillion has developed a guide Greener Event Management. If you would like a pdf copy emailed, please send us a message.

For more on Maximillion’s green initiatives, have a look in our sustainability section.


Maximillion delivers conferences, learning and development programmes and team building activities in Edinburgh, Scotland, across the UK and beyond.

Make an enquiry or contact one of the team on 0131 333 0066.

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