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What is a sustainable event agency?

We often get asked, what is a sustainable event agency? What's the difference and what makes your events sustainable?


Simply put, as a sustainable event agency, we look at every stage of the event management process with sustainability in mind, proactively making sustainable changes during the conception, planning, delivery and review of the event. This involves multiple steps…


Conception

Brainstorming a sustainable event on an iPad

The first stage of the sustainable event management process. This is one of the most important steps as it guarantees we set off in the right direction. When conceiving the idea of the event in question, we brainstorm forward-thinking and creative ideas to ensure sustainability runs throughout the lifeblood of the event. Whether we are suggesting eco-certified venues, specific locations to reduce carbon-intensive travel, suppliers that share the same values or innovative CSR and charity initiatives, a lot of progress can be made to mitigate carbon emissions.


Measurement

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Age old words that ring particularly true in the sustainable events world. Measurement of carbon shouldn’t just take place during the event but from the beginning and should include site visits, client/supplier meetings and other ad-hoc activities that emit carbon emissions. When we measure these emissions from the start of the project, we have a better chance of offsetting all emissions at the end to create a completely carbon-neutral event.


Venue Source

An eco-friendly hotel with plants

Deciding where to hold your event is crucial to the sustainability and carbon emissions of your event. Factors such as energy usage, food & beverage, travel emissions (due to location), waste management and water conservation are all determined on what venue you decide to choose. As a sustainable events agency, we source only eco-friendly venues that share the same values whilst negotiating rates and ensuring suitability. We look at several different elements of the venue including their energy-saving measures, catering options and sustainability policies. We have established close relationships with eco-friendly hotel brands within the UK and across the world which puts us in a perfect position to source your venue in line with your requirements and vision whilst achieving the best rate for your budget.


Supply Chain

The vetting and procurement of suppliers is key to the sustainable outcome of the event. Once again, suppliers must share the same sustainable values, and be prepared to collaborate to reduce the impact of the event. This involves discussing how to make an event more sustainable during project meetings, having a legitimate sustainability policy, providing carbon figures for measurement and using creativity and innovation where possible to promote and increase sustainability throughout the event.


Food & Beverage

One of the most important elements of any event! The food must be done right for any event to be a success. To bring this into alignment with the rest of the event, the catering team should provide a plant-based menu using locally sourced ingredients, food surplus should be reduced by requesting delegate preferences prior to the event and any food waste should be redistributed to those in need. If opting for non-vegetarian catering, menus can indicate the carbon impact of each dish to give greater awareness to delegates and hopefully encourage them to eat more responsibly.


Attendee & Supplier Communication

We believe that the sharing of knowledge is one of the most effective ways to combat climate change. If individuals know what they can do to reduce their impact on the planet, they are more than likely to do it. To that end, within our event communications, we provide handy tips and information that can help the event attendee do their bit for the planet. On top of this, during project meetings and calls with third party suppliers, we set aside time to discuss the sustainability of the event.


Registration

A sustainable registration desk at an event

The event kicks off and the first initial touchpoint brings with it the delegates first exposure to the event. Registration nowadays is nearly always digital, reducing energy and paper waste. Once registered, we can provide QR code tickets via email further reducing waste. This will be used to register the delegate at the event, where scanning technology produces a paper name badge to use with a recyclable paper/bamboo lanyard. These should be collected at the end of the event to be recycled at the appropriate recycle point.


Delivery

Whilst onsite at the event, we will continue to go about our role as sustainable event managers and ambassadors. We encourage staff travel to and from the event to be as green as possible, using electric vehicles over petrol and making use of public transport. We use technology to reduce paper usage, bring reusable water bottles and coffee mugs for beverages and ensure we ‘practise what we preach’ throughout the delivery of the event. Even our company clothing is sourced from sustainable suppliers!


Recycle and Repurposing of Event Materials

At the end of the event, we look to divert anything from landfill and incineration by collecting any materials left over from the event and using our partners to recycle and repurpose these to keep them within the circular economy. We will also work with the event caterers and our partners to redistribute any surplus food to food shelters and those in need.


Carbon Calculation & Offset

Sustainable event Carbon Calculator

Post-event, we can finalise our carbon calculation to conclude how much carbon was emitted as a direct result of the event. With this information, we can compare our results to previous events, or if the event was in a different location to establish how much carbon we saved/wasted. Most notably, we can also offset these carbon emissions to label the event as carbon neutral. Although there is still a lot of debate on carbon offsetting schemes, choosing the right one can not only reduce carbon emissions but lead to benefits such as restored ecosystems and biodiversity, sustainable livelihoods for local communities, cleaner water systems and other socio-economics benefits for developing nations. You can read about some of our favourite carbon offset projects here.


Review and Debrief

After the event is over, we can pat ourselves on the back and start to focus on the future. During our event debrief, we look at what can be done to make the event even more sustainable next time. Whether it be involving any of the above, or something that we haven’t considered, the review of our sustainable event management processes is fluid, always changing and improving with every event.


At every step of the journey, we take proactive decisions to improve sustainability and leave a positive impact on the planet. This is what makes us a sustainable event agency.


But it’s not just our events that are sustainable. As an agency, we’re involved in a number of initiatives to fight climate change and give back to our community. We donate 1% of our yearly profits into renewable energy projects to support the sector. We also look at ways of minimising our impact on the planet during internal meetings, have an eco-friendly company policy and strive to foster a positive work culture of flexibility and personal freedom.


Depending on a large number of variables, emerging technologies and innovations in the sector, there are an almost unlimited number of ways to improve the sustainability of the event. It is our creativity and innovation that keeps improving the sustainability of our events year by year. To find out more or to continue the conversation, drop us a message on hello@zentiveagency.com.



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