Responsible Delegates & Exhibitors' Guide

It’s so important to embed sustainability into your event plans but we also know that it’s also difficult to control everything so ensuring that your delegates, exhibitors, and your sponsors all understand your aims and objectives is crucial.

Considering producing a guide using our pointers below to nudge everyone who attends your event into completing an action.

How Can You Be a Responsible Delegate

  1. Travel smart. You’ll be pleased to know that Cambridge is a small and walkable city so, if you are mobile, there’s no need to rely on taxis or even public transport once you have arrived. The main train station is approximately 1.3 miles from the historic centre of the city, that’s almost 3000 steps towards your exercise or move goal and best of all it’s free travel! When you’re planning how to get to your next event, why not build in some walking time…
    For employees of the University of Cambridge, take a look at the University’s Sustainable Business Travel Guidelines: Sustainable Business Travel
  2. Bring your own cups, water bottles and cutlery.  Think about what you might need at the event and be prepared, it’s a great way to reduce your waste anyway but it can be a very effective way of reducing the negative environmental impact at an event so pack your keep cup and re-useable water bottle and if you have cutlery, bring it too!
  3. Play by the rules – it’s likely that your event organiser and the venue will have made the effort to provide recycling points throughout the event spaces, with different bins for different types of waste, so do your part by using the right bin.  Popping food or general waste into a bin designed for waste that can be recycled will contaminate the whole bag, which means it will end up in a landfill or an incinerator.
  4. Set yourself a challenge – we’re not saying that you have to arrive at your event via the River Cam on a punt (although that would be very sustainable and cool!) but you could decide to do something different while you’re in Cambridge for this event.  Maybe that’s walking, or maybe that’s remembering to bring your water bottle, take the time to find out more about the sustainable goals for the event and then see if you can make some small changes to your own routine to help your conference organiser make significant changes overall.
  5. Share, share, share – don’t underestimate your power!  Your positive actions can inspire others, communicating about the steps you have taken can be powerful, and when your conference organiser shares the outcomes of the event, share those too -we’re all in this together!


VisitBritain has a guide that you may find useful to give to your delegates.


How Can You Be a Responsible Exhibitor

In addition to all of the above, there are many actions that could be taken by exhibitors, here are a few ideas:

  1. Stand giveaways, if you must have them, make sure that they are from ethical and eco-friendly sources, and most importantly that they serve a purpose and can be recycled. Single-use plastic should be avoided at all costs.
  2. Stand design: structural materials need to be reusable and recyclable, no element of the stand should be single-use.
  3. Shipping: combine packages to save on delivery and choose a courier with good sustainable credentials.
  4. Paper: reduce paper use by displaying QR codes for promotional collateral.
  5. Lighting & Power: use LED lighting and switch off the power at the end of each day.
  6. Catering: if you offer catering on your stand, ensure that nothing is wrapped in single-use plastic and that any food and drink that is served, is locally sourced. Use crockery and cutlery rather than disposable plates and cups.
  7. Tell your stand visitors about your sustainability efforts and share any feedback with the event organiser.
  8. Waste: by following the steps above there should be little waste but if you do have items that you need to dispose of after the event, check with the organiser about waste policies to make sure it can be disposed of.  If the organiser and/or the venue has a waste management policy in place and your rubbish can’t be handled then you will need to be prepared to find an alternative, off-site solution.


Sustainable Events Toolkit