Events have an impact on our planet and as planners we must do all we can to minimise that impact but hosting a sustainable meeting and knowing where to start can be a bit daunting so here at Meet Cambridge, we’ve looked at few ways to get started on those first steps…


  1. Choose your venue

When you’re looking for a space for your event, consider what’s on offer in terms of sustainable features, practices, and policies. Some venues have officially recognised environmental accreditations such as Green Meetings.


  1. In-person or hybrid

Face-to-face meetings might be your preferred choice but it’s worth considering a hybrid event format to avoid the impact of travel. Explore what a venue can offer in terms of linking up with specialist providers to deliver a streamlined and professional event that will appeal to both audiences but remember that technology will also add to the event’s carbon footprint.


  1. Consider delegate travel

Choose venues that are located close to railway stations or on bus routes to make it easy to advocate the use of public transport. Other options in Cambridge include hiring cycles or using scooters within the city centre. For those driving, encourage car-sharing and look for venues with EV charging points. Why not consider rewarding those who choose a sustainable method of transport…


  1. Go paperless

Gone are the days of hard-copy conference packs which have been specially produced for just one event. Today’s delegates look for ways to have all the information they need in digital format, so they can go paperless and travel light. Not only should the paperless approach be for the day itself but also for organisers in the run up to the event.


  1. Food for thought

Choose fresh, seasonal produce that’s locally sourced with plenty of plant-based options. Calculate food miles and provide the details on menus to encourage delegates to choose the most sustainable options. Opt for venues that can demonstrate a commitment to local produce and food waste reduction.


  1. Remove, Reduce, Recycle BEFORE Off-Setting

Consider your previous events, which elements could you remove altogether; goody bags, note pads and pens for example (see our blog on Innovative Alternatives). Then think about ways to reduce the environmental impact of your event – a meat-free menu using locally sourced products would certainly help. Once you are clear on what can be removed and reduced, choose products you could recycle – pop up banners for example, can you find a supplier that uses materials that can be recycled?  When you are confident that you have done everything you can to remove, reduce and recycle and after having measured the carbon footprint of the event, it may be time to consider off-setting but be sure to choose a reputable company so you can be sure that your off-setting goes to the right project.


  1. Plug into resources to help

Look for Sustainability Toolkits to guide you or training courses which will provide the information you need to create more sustainable events. It’s also worth networking to hear about other organisers’ experiences and advice so you can share tips.


  1. Corporate Social Responsibility

Social sustainability is also important, look for ways in which your event could contribute to the local area, use a charitable venue or seek out volunteering opportunities that would allow your group to participate in a project whilst attending the event. Ensure that your event is inclusive, that it embraces diversity and promotes equality.


  1. Monitor and share your achievements

You can learn from experience and by using measurement tools, you can track your progress; make sure you share your good news too!


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