As event organisers, we know it’s important to consider the environmental impact of our events. But, while we may focus on details such as using sustainable materials for stand construction and implementing recyclable plastics, there is often a much larger issue that is overlooked in assessing an event’s carbon footprint: the impact of travel.
According to a study conducted by Eventbrite, transportation is the largest contributor to an event’s carbon footprint, accounting for up to 50% of the total emissions. This includes both air and road travel for attendees, as well as transportation of materials and equipment.
One of the main reasons that transportation is such a significant contributor to an event’s carbon footprint is the distance that attendees often have to travel. With the globalisation of the events industry, it is not uncommon for attendees to travel long distances, often by air, to attend events. In addition, the transportation of materials and equipment also adds to the carbon footprint, as these items must be shipped or transported by truck.
While it may be difficult to completely eliminate the need for travel to events, there are steps that event organisers can take to minimise the impact. Here are our top three tips:
#1 Choose the event location carefully
One way to minimise your event’s carbon footprint is by choosing a location that is easily accessible by public transportation, such as a city with a well-developed public transportation system. This can encourage attendees to use more environmentally friendly modes of transportation and reduce the number of cars on the road.
#2 Offer incentives for sustainable travel
In addition to choosing a convenient location, event planners and organisers can also consider offering incentives for attendees who use sustainable transportation options. For example, offering discounts or rewards for those who arrive by public transportation or carpooling can encourage attendees to consider these options.
#3 Minimise transportation of materials and equipment
Another way to reduce the carbon footprint of an event is by minimising the need for transportation of materials and equipment. Choose a venue that has the necessary facilities and equipment already in place, rather than shipping in additional items. In addition, using digital signage and other digital technologies can reduce the need for printed materials, which can also help to reduce the carbon footprint.
Travel and transportation is often the largest contributor to an event’s carbon footprint, and is frequently overlooked by event organisers in favour of focusing on the smaller (but important) details around choice stand materials and recycling options on-site. To create a truly sustainable event, travel and transportation must be at the heart of event planning.
By choosing a convenient location and encouraging sustainable transportation options, as well as minimising the need for transportation of materials and equipment, event organisers can significantly reduce their event’s carbon footprint. While it may not be possible to completely eliminate the need for travel, taking some simple steps to encourage sustainable options can help to enhance the sustainability of events.