Businesses around the globe are searching for ways to decrease their carbon footprint, including event planners and trade show professionals. Hosting an eco-friendly event doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, oftentimes you can offer the same (or better) experience to attendees while doing your part to be kind to the environment.
As a member of The New Mexico GREEN Chamber of Commerce, the team at EXHIB-IT! educates the community about green business practices across the state. We also encourage business practices that reflect your investment in the community through our combined desire to protect land, air, and water. We believe if we each do our part as individuals, business owners, and trade show professionals, we can protect the environment and make positive changes in communities.
- Start small. While we wish we could make global changes, we know it starts in local communities. Grow the movement from local to regional, bringing eco-friendly events to the region, state, and nation. Eventually the change will be felt around the globe.
- Green Marketing. Don’t be afraid to announce your business or event has embraced eco-friendly practices. Not only is this newsworthy, it helps people connect to your business. That helps build brand recognition.
- Support Eco-Friendly Practices. Participate in events where event organizers are conscious of how their event is impacting the environment. Perhaps they offer recycling or give discounts to businesses who are using promotional products made of recycled materials. Remember, every little bit helps.
With 10,000+ events in the United States annually producing 600,000+ tons of waste, it’s worth your time to figure out how much your business is dumping. And how you can produce less waste. For event planners, you can look at ways to make your event more eco-friendly for vendors and attendees. Here are a few ideas:
As an event planner you’re traveling across the country or around the globe for weeks at a time. It’s challenging to maintain an eco-friendly lifestyle when there are so many opportunities to increase, rather than decrease, your carbon footprint. We believe traveling green starts before you leave and ends when you return home.
- Before you leave home, unplug any light or appliance that doesn’t need to be plugged in while you’re gone. Close blinds and set the thermostat to a temperature that will keep your home safe but not waste energy. In cold climates, consider pipes freezing, and in hot climates, consider the summer heat.
- Use eco-friendly displays made of lightweight and/or recycled materials. It’s less cost to ship and less fuel the plane or truck will use to get it from point A to point B.
- Lightweight packing materials will not only save you money on shipping costs but will decrease your carbon footprint.
- Pack a light suitcase for yourself to decrease the amount of fuel used to get you and your suitcase to your destination. A simple solution is to take less pairs or lighter weight shoes for the ladies. Men can take less business suits and more shirts and ties.
- Rent a vehicle that is energy efficient.
- Utilize public transportation, especially in big cities like New York and Chicago where driving and parking conditions are less than ideal.
- Take public transportation to/from the airport.
That’s just the beginning of your eco-friendly event. Consider ways your business can market before, during, and after the event that are better for the environment.
When you think about marketing your business or event, consider ways that use less paper, electricity, and still get your message to your audience.
- Ditch the business cards and opt for a QR Code that attendees can scan to get your contact information.
- Use an event-only texting code that attendees and vendors can use to get a link or download event or company specific information.
- Add technology, such as a laptop or tablet, to your trade show display where attendees can interact with your website or products. (Sidenote: this is also a great way to gather contact information from prospective customers for future marketing efforts.)
Speaking of trade show displays…
Consider how you can make your trade show display more eco-friendly including:
- Materials used to make the display and promotional products
- Ink used on banners and promotional products
- Weight of the display which impacts shipping costs
- LED lights which use significantly less energy than traditional lighting
Eco-friendly trade show displays are available in the same designs and colors as other displays, they just leave a smaller carbon footprint. Encourage vendors to use these displays to help conserve energy and natural resources.
With more than 600,000 tons of trash produced by trade shows annually, it is important to consider how much your business contributes and how you can produce less trash at your next event.
- Promotional products with purpose. Rather than wine openers, for example, give away pens and pencils at your next event. When the event is over, donate leftovers to local schools or charities. Saves you the cost of shipping items back to your office and you do something good for others. (And let’s face it, that’s good PR for your business and brand.)
- Recycling with purpose. Rather than shipping dated marketing materials back to your office or throwing them away, donate them to a local college or organization that supports young entrepreneurs.
- Rebranding with purpose. It’s the last trade show with your existing display and you’re wondering what to do with it. Rather than throwing away a display that you’re no longer going to use, utilize social media at the event to find a business interested in purchasing your used trade show display. You’re saving the display from the landfill and helping another business.
If you’re interested in learning more about making your events more eco-friendly, contact the team at EXHIB-IT!