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How to Start Planning Sustainable Events

Sustainability continues to be a global concern and is also top of mind in the meetings and events industry. This is due to the harmful impact events can have on the environment and growing importance for corporate social responsibility.

Did you know that one conference participant generates 176 kilograms of carbon emissions per day? That is equal to 1,233 barrels of oil consumed for a 1,000 person, three-day meeting. Certainly, a cause for concern and reason enough to begin planning more sustainable events.

What is sustainability?

Sustainability is the focus on meeting needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. The three pillars of sustainability are economic, environmental and social.

It touches all aspects of meetings and events, providing a diverse menu of opportunities for us event planners to reduce impacts and create social benefit. So what are the areas of corporate event planning you apply sustainable practices? We’re sharing easy tips in five focus areas to help get you started.


Sustainable events: Simple tips to get you started

Experience Design

  • Feature a service or fundraising activity
  • Provide an accessibility concierge
  • Create a sponsored scholarship or bursary to support participation from underrepresented audiences

Audio Visual and Production

  • Request most efficient lighting, sound and projection equipment for event needs
  • Power-off AV when not in use
  • Use reusable staging, decor and production equipment

Sustainable event set up with colored spotlights and control panel | Global Agency BCD Meetings & Events


    • Prepare a list of green tips for exhibitors
    • Request sustainable alternatives for graphics, carpet and other contractor provided material
  • Provide a donation program for exhibitors to re-purpose gently-used or excess items

Did you know: A typical conference participant
generates 1.9 kilograms of waste per day? 



  • Give preference to local, field grown, in-season produce
  • Eliminate single-serving dishware or ensure disposables are composted
  • Serve fairly traded coffee and tea
  • Learn how to avoid food waste

Did you know: 682,000 liters of water are saved by opting
to serve chicken instead of beef for a 500-person banquet?


Passed tray at event with vegetarian hors d'oeuvres | Global Agency BCD Meetings & Events

Discover Eco-Friendly Venues Around the World



    • Choose accommodations that have a sustainability credential, such as LEED® or ISO certification
    • Ensure the property has a visible in-room sustainability program that guests can participate in
  • Support hotels that are participating in programs to combat human trafficking


Originally published Dec 3, 2019 9:58:06 AM
Last updated on Apr 6, 2023 4:34:27 PM

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Written by BCD Meetings & Events

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