7 Easy Steps to Making Your Conference More Environmentally Friendly

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash


In an era when environmental consciousness is on the rise, hosting an eco-friendly event is not only responsible but also a great way to set an example for your attendees. By taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of your event, you can contribute to a greener future.

Here are 7 easy steps to make your conference more environmentally friendly:

1. Choose a Green Venue

Select a conference venue that prioritises sustainability. Look for venues that have energy-efficient lighting, recycling programmes, and use renewable energy sources. Green venues often have eco-friendly practices in place, making it easier to minimise your event’s environmental impact.

2. Digital Over Paper

Encourage attendees to access event information and materials online. Use email invitations and digital brochures instead of printed materials. Use technology to engage attendees and reduce the need for printed materials. Create a conference app for schedules, networking, and feedback, reducing the need for paper programmes and surveys. If necessary, offer a limited number of printed materials and provide recycling stations to collect them after use.

3. Food Waste & Eco-Friendly Catering

Collaborate with caterers to minimise food waste. Plan for accurate attendance numbers to avoid excess food. Encourage attendees to take only what they can eat, and donate any leftover food to local charities. Opt for catering services that focus on sustainable, locally sourced, and organic foods. Use reusable, biodegradable, or compostable serving ware and utensils to reduce the amount of plastic waste. Set up water stations with reusable cups or bottles instead of offering single-use plastic water bottles. Encourage attendees to refill their own containers to cut down on waste and reduce the carbon footprint associated with bottled water production.

4. Transportation

Promote greener transportation methods for attendees. Encourage carpooling, biking, or the use of public transportation. If possible, provide shuttle services or arrange carpools to and from the venue.

5. Sustainable Swag

If providing conference freebies, choose eco-friendly items such as reusable tote bags, stainless steel water bottles, or sustainable merchandise made from recycled materials. Avoid single-use items that are likely to end up in landfills.

6.. Recycling and Composting

Ensure proper waste separation with clearly labelled recycling and compost bins throughout the conference area. Educate attendees about the importance of recycling and composting and make it easy for them to do so.

7. Offset Your Carbon Footprint

Calculate the conference’s carbon footprint, which includes travel, energy usage, and waste generation. Invest in carbon offset programmes, like reforestation or renewable energy projects, to balance out the emissions created by the event.

Making your conference more environmentally friendly not only helps protect our planet but also sets a positive example for attendees, encouraging them to adopt more sustainable practices in their own lives.

At EMS we advise our clients Incorporate some/all of these 7 easy steps into their conference planning to significantly reduce their environmental impact.