Discussion about greener offices tends to center on altering day-to-day habits. Although changing up certain workplace practices can yield results, we often forget about the large-scale office events that have a huge impact on a company’s annual carbon footprint. It’s about time we took a look at organizing eco-friendly office events!
WHAT’S AN ECO-FRIENDLY OFFICE EVENT?
An environmentally-friendly office event is, in a nutshell, one that makes environmental consciousness an important aspect of the event itself. It begins from the very initial stages of planning — influencing event design, publicity, transportation, and venue-hosting. Sounds like a hassle? Well, it’s a small price to pay to mitigate a potential environmental disaster!
Large-scale office events like conferences, seminars or even company retreats can exponentially increase a business’s negative environmental impact. Carbon dioxide emissions from air/private transportation, partner organizers that don’t adopt sustainable practices, wasteful paper publicity and even the simple act of handing out plastic bottles at an event cumulatively harm our environment. Furthermore, these small incidences of wastage/emissions could negate any form of environmentally-driven CSR initiative your company has taken on. That’s why it’s time to make a change.
HOW TO PLAN A SUSTAINABLE OFFICE EVENT
#1 IT STARTS WITH PLANNING
By outlining environmental-consciousness as a goal of your company event, you’ll make it much easier to align subsequent goals with this aim. Besides this, other members are more likely to contribute green ideas once this goal has been explicitly acknowledged. Take some to think of details that could reduce your combined carbon footprint. For example, send out paperless invites or create an app for your event. This will significantly reduce paper consumption. Another small detail you can think about is the practice of handing out plastic bottles to seminar attendees. Is there a more creative, sustainable way to do this? Well, it’s completely up to your budget and imagination!
#2 FIND PARTNERS THAT ARE ON BOARD
Whether you’re planning a large corporate event or a small team-bonding excursion, you’ll need partner companies. For example, this includes seminar venues, destination-retreat hotels, and catering companies. In such a case, reach out to businesses with 3rd party sustainability certification like LEED, APEX, or Green Key. Be sure to inform them of your desire to have minimal wastage. For instance, partner organizers could offer recyclable name badges at conferences. If you’re working with a venue, check out their practices to reduce energy consumption. Ultimately, even if you aren’t working with a certified company, see if they’re willing to adapt to your preferences (e.g. check if your catering company offers recyclable napkins).
#3 THE CASE FOR TRAVEL
How do we organize a sustainable destination-travel office event? If possible, minimize air travel unless absolutely necessary so as to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, try frequenting your local conference centers or nearby exhibition halls. However, if out-of-state travel is required, pick a location that values sustainable practices. Simply check out the sustainability index or a city’s sustainability performance to get a good gauge of this. After choosing a location, be aware of transport distances from the airport to your hotel, to conference halls, etc. Minimizing distance reduces the case for automobile travel. If not, it’s time to give public transportation, walking or shuttle-bus chartering a shot!
#4 AFTER THE EVENT
Cleaning up after an event is equally important as planning it well. Ensure there are plenty of avenues for responsible waste management. Place recycling bins strategically throughout the location, donate any unused materials and chooses reusable options!
GO GREEN OR GO HOME!
It might seem intimidating but planning an eco-friendly office event isn’t all that tough! It takes a little research, some good thought but ultimately, just the right intentions. Having greener events is a great way to minimize your team’s impact on the environment, boost your brand image and unite your team towards achieving a cause.