by Livvy Drake
Have your clients asked you to make an event ‘sustainable’, halfway through a project, without any clear definition of what this means leading to confusion and extra work?
Or perhaps you want to deliver more sustainable events and overcome your client’s barriers to this?
You are not alone, so many freelance and agency event managers have been using lockdown focus on sustainable events. In Mid-April, The Sustainable Event Alliance Hackathon, attracted 500 people from around the world; whilst our sustainable event and waste workshops, have been well attended.
So where should you begin on your sustainable event planning?
From the get-go it’s essential that you discuss sustainability measures, so you have a good lead time and have clarity on your client’s motivations and priorities.
There is a general perception that sustainability will cost more and whilst certain ‘green’ materials do- switching materials is not what sustainability is about. And efficiency savings can in one area to pay for more expensive options. Plus the value-add for marketing, PR and customer satisfaction is priceless.
How to co-create a policy with client
Rather than writing up a document and sending it over for your client to approve, I highly recommend hosting a policy meeting with a group of key stakeholders from across the organisation.
This will make the policy meaningful and hold people accountable. It will also avoid those frustrating conversations when a director asks, ‘why isn’t it a paper-free event’?
I have conducted many of these discussions with corporate festival agencies to nightclub teams. I start off by asking questions around what matters to people in relation to the 3 pillars of sustainability - people, planet and profit:
Using this information I would then create a policy that includes:
Issue statement - what are the core issues you identify Vision - what is your vision of a better/ ideal future (the dream) Scope of policy - what are the priorities (the highest-scoring areas) Commitments - what will you do
How to create an action plan
With the priority issues (highest scoring), you need to create SMART targets. This will mean your team, contractors and venue have clarity on what they are working towards.
A plastic-free event is not specific, measurable, achievable, realistic or timely, when you consider that most graphics materials are made from plastic.
A SMART target looks like:
An action plan should include:
Need some step-by-step instructions?
If this sounds like a process you would like in your event toolbox, then you can access our on-demand online workshop ‘Creating an engaging Sustainability Policy Workshop’
This is a step-by-step process and you will come away with all the documents and templates to create a policy and an action plan.
There is a special freelancer rate of £59 and there is the option for feedback on your own policies that you create.
Find out more