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Event Planning

How to Plan Sustainable Events

Yashika Tangri
April 17, 2024
min read
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Are you wondering how to plan sustainable events for your next projects and don't know where to start?

As an event planner, you're uniquely positioned to foster change and make a lasting, positive impact on attendees and the environment.

Learning to plan sustainable events might seem challenging at first. Maybe you're worried it could add complexity to an already intricate process, or perhaps you're concerned that 'going green' might diminish the fun and excitement.

In reality, planning sustainable events can offer unexpected benefits. It can save costs, enhance your event's image, and, more importantly, align your work with the growing global need for sustainable practices.

And let's not forget the sense of accomplishment you'll feel after hosting an event that succeeds and respects our planet.

This guide will take you step-by-step through planning your next sustainable event for a successful outcome.

A. Core concepts of sustainable event planning

Sustainable event planning involves designing and implementing events that minimize environmental impact while maximizing social and economic benefits. It's about making good choices for people, the planet, and profit.

Here are the two core concepts that you need to consider:

1. Principles of sustainability in events

In sustainable event planning, the goal is to balance care for people and the planet while still turning a profit. 

To apply these principles:

  • Address people by ensuring your event is accessible and beneficial to a diverse audience and helps the local community.
  • Protect the planet by reducing waste and choosing eco-friendly options for materials and energy.
  • Maintain profit without sacrificing social and environmental responsibilities, such as cutting unnecessary costs and boosting local economies through your event.

2. Setting sustainable objectives

To make your event truly sustainable, you need clear goals. 

Here’s how to set them:

  • Choose an area of specialization, like waste reduction or energy use, and decide on an achievable target.
  • Translate your goals into quantifiable actions–for instance, commit to zero single-use plastics or 50% local vendor participation.
  • Track your progress throughout the event planning and execution to ensure you meet these targets, adjusting your strategies as necessary.

Direct, measurable goals make it easier to see the impact of your efforts and demonstrate to others how sustainability can be integrated into successful events.

B. Execution strategies for sustainable events

Before you start planning your event, it’s important to think about how you can make it more sustainable. There are many ways to do this, but here are some of the most common strategies:

1. Choosing the right venue

Selecting a venue that aligns with your sustainability goals is crucial. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Research the venue's sustainability policies. Look for venues with clear, documented policies on energy efficiency, waste management, and eco-friendly practices.
  • Ask about energy and water use. Inquire if the venue uses renewable energy sources and efficient water systems. This can significantly reduce the event’s environmental impact.
  • Investigate waste management practices. Does the venue have a robust recycling program? Do they compost food waste? Make sure their waste management aligns with your sustainability objectives.
  • Consider the location. Choose venues easily accessible by public transport, reducing the need for individual car travel.
  • Ask about certifications. Certifications such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) can indicate a venue’s commitment to sustainability.

By focusing on these criteria, you can ensure that your choice of venue reflects your commitment to hosting an event that's memorable and responsible.

2. Minimizing waste

Minimizing waste is essential for sustainable event management. Here are practical steps you can take to reduce waste at every stage of your event, with a special focus on how digital tools can play a crucial role:

i). Before the event

Use online registration platforms to manage sign-ups. A tool like Ticket Generator simplifies this process and supports team collaboration, allowing multiple members to scan and validate tickets at the event.


It’s a more sustainable option compared to traditional paper tickets.

ii). During the event

Here’s what to do:

  • Digital ticket scanning: Encourage attendees to use their mobile devices for ticket display. This minimizes the need for printed tickets and speeds up the event check-in process. With Ticket Generator, you can use a mobile app scanner and streamline the entire process. 
  • Communicate waste reduction goals: Make announcements or digital displays about recycling and composting to encourage attendee participation in your waste reduction efforts.
  • Offer digital alternatives: Instead of distributing printed materials, provide digital resources, such as PDFs, online schedules, and event maps that attendees can access through their phones or tablets.

iii). After the event

After the event, you can:

  • Gather digital feedback: Send out digital surveys to gather feedback about the event. This not only reduces paper waste but also provides you with quick insights that you can use to improve future events.
  • Report on sustainability achievements: Share a post-event report through email or your event website highlighting the waste reduction achievements, further promoting the success of your sustainable efforts.

When you switch to digital, you can simplify the process and reduce waste.

3. Carbon footprint reduction

Reducing the carbon footprint of your event involves strategies around transportation and sourcing. 

Here’s how you can encourage sustainable practices in these areas:

i). Sustainable transportation

  • Promote public transport: Encourage attendees to use public transport by providing detailed information on routes, schedules, and any event discounts available for transit use.
  • Support carpooling and biking: Facilitate a carpooling system or organize bike rental options for attendees. This not only reduces emissions but can also create a sense of community.
  • Choose accessible venues: Selecting a centrally located venue and easily accessible by multiple forms of eco-friendly transport can significantly reduce your event's overall carbon footprint.
  • Provide incentives: Offer benefits like discounted event entrance or special recognition to attendees who choose green transportation options.

ii). Local sourcing

  • Use local vendors: For everything from catering to event materials, choosing local suppliers can reduce transportation emissions, support the local economy, and often result in fresher, more sustainable products.
  • Seasonal and organic catering: Choose catering services that use local, seasonal, and organically produced ingredients. This reduces the carbon footprint associated with food transport and promotes healthier, environmentally conscious eating.
  • Eco-friendly event materials: Source your materials from local vendors who prioritize sustainability. This includes using recyclable materials or items made from recycled content.
  • Minimize shipping: When planning, consider the carbon costs of shipping and look for alternatives that can be sourced locally. This reduces long-distance freight, which contributes significantly to carbon emissions.

Implementing these strategies will help reduce your event's carbon footprint and promote a culture of sustainability among your attendees and suppliers.

4. Engaging your audience

Effectively communicating your sustainability efforts and encouraging audience participation are key elements to a successful sustainable event. 

Here are methods to involve your attendees in your green initiatives:

i). Communication

  • Transparent communication: Early on, use your event platform to outline your sustainability goals and measures. This sets the stage for audience expectations.
  • Sustainability branding: Integrate your commitment to sustainability into your event branding. This can include logos, themes, and messaging that highlight your focus on green practices.
  • Informational content: Provide educational content through your website, emails, or social media that informs attendees about the importance of sustainability and how they can contribute.
  • Real-time updates: During the event, keep attendees informed of ongoing sustainability efforts, such as the quantity of waste being saved or the reduction in energy consumption.

ii). Participation

  • Interactive workshops: Organize workshops or discussions that allow attendees to learn about sustainability and how it applies to the event and their personal or professional lives.
  • Sustainability challenges: Encourage participation by setting up sustainability challenges or games with rewards for participants who make eco-friendly choices.
  • Visible eco-stations: Set up clear recycling, composting, and waste reduction stations around the venue with instructional signage to make it easy for attendees to sort their waste.
  • Volunteer opportunities: Offer attendees the chance to be more intimately involved by volunteering for eco-friendly initiatives related to the event.

To increase sustainability in the world, you must effectively communicate your sustainability initiatives and offer clear channels for participation.

5. Sustainable sourcing

When planning an event, choosing environmentally conscious vendors is essential. 

Here are practical ways to select responsible suppliers and source sustainable event materials:

i). Selecting vendors

  • Evaluate sustainability practices: Review potential vendors based on their sustainability standards. Look for aspects like their use of renewable energy, water conservation efforts, and waste reduction policies. A higher standard of these practices usually implies a more environmentally friendly vendor.
  • Check certifications: Find out if potential vendors have sustainability certifications from recognized environmental bodies. These certifications demonstrate a commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
  • Assess product lifecycle: Understand how the vendor sources their raw materials. Choose vendors who use renewable sources, maintain ethical labor practices, and implement methods to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Review past performance: Investigate the vendor's track record. Reliable vendors often offer case studies, customer reviews, or testimonials showcasing their commitment to sustainability.

ii). Sourcing event materials

  • Opt for recycled or sustainable materials: Whenever possible, choose materials made from recycled content, recyclable, or derived from sustainable sources.
  • Minimize single-use items: Try to use reusable items whenever possible. For instance, consider using washable tablecloths and serveware instead of disposable options.
  • Consider local options: Sourcing materials locally reduces carbon emissions from transport. It also supports the local economy and increases the likelihood that your products are made sustainably.
  • Evaluate material lifespan: Consider selecting durable materials that can last for multiple events instead of items needing to be replaced frequently.

Implementing these strategies in your event planning reduces the environmental impact and shows your commitment to sustainability to your attendees.

C. Plan your sustainable event with Ticket Generator now

The lasting impact of sustainable events is undeniable, not just in immediate environmental benefits but also in inspiring long-term sustainable practices among participants and the industry. 

It’s critical to embed sustainability in every facet of event planning, generating ripples that extend into the broader community.

The next step is to take action and plan your sustainable event. Start by identifying your event's goals and objectives and determine how to achieve them while minimizing environmental impact. This will help you create a comprehensive sustainability plan, including waste management and transportation options.

Then, set up your event registration page and send tickets from Ticket Generator

Get started now. 

Author's Image

Yashika Tangri

Yashika Tangri is an amazing marketing manager who operates from Trycon Technology's Noida office. Her name signifies success and fame, and she has certainly lived up to these expectations.

At work, Yashika is a highly efficient digital marketing organizer and a source of inspiration to her colleagues with her positive demeanor and professional work ethics. Despite being a lifelong student of science, Yashika decided to pursue a career in marketing in 2018.

After work hours, Yashika enjoys creating new playlists on Spotify, and she is an avid reader who finds solace in escaping reality through the pages of mythology books.