I recently met someone who asked me "what does it mean to be an eco-friendly event planner". I have to admit, I was so surprised by this question and it got me quiet for a second - from shock! BUT after the conversation, I processed it all in my head and realized it was actually a very valid question!
So, I'm an Eco-Friendly Event Planner, which means I concentrate on doing purely environmentally friendly events. But... What does that mean, who are those "eco-friendly event planners"?
Let me tell you:
1. We say NO to waste!
We HATE trash! The less trash the event is leaving the better we have succeeded in our job. This is the main goal, this is where everything starts with; how can I avoid waste in an event that is usually designed for only one or two days? How I can leave as small environmental impact as possible?
2. We recycle like crazy! This is important! Normally, especially in the United States, all the trash that is coming from the events is mashed into the same trash bin, but when you work with Eco-Friendly Event Planners you can rest your mind because they have coordinated all the waste to be recycled correctly. Sustainable Event Planners make sure the recycling is communicated and all the vendors in the event are respecting recycling. It is also important to bring this to the knowledge of the event participants. Recycling is a responsibility for everyone and an eco-friendly event planner's job is to make sure recycling is part of the event communication, branding, and when hiring the vendors.
3. It's not only trash. Eco-friendly events are also about other facts. The goal is to reduce the carbon footprint as much as we can. This would include waste of water, how much energy is used, and gas emissions. We reduce all of these by choosing partners who are on the same mission.
This can include;
Choosing Green venues
Working with local and organic catering companies
Preferring group transportation or even public transportation
Using digital services
4. We invent! When you are planning eco-friendly events, you have to be very creative and think outside of the box. Besides keeping up with the industry trends, we also have to somehow implement those trends to be environmentally friendly and unfortunately, this industry has not made it easy. Thankfully, digitalization has brought a lot of new amazing wonders, but not really when it comes to other important things like event decoration. Alternative products are popping to the market and that makes us sustainable event planners smile like the brightest star. Eco-friendly event planners are the ones who are on top of these new ventures and on top of the latest trends and are implementing both into the events without hesitation!
5. We encourage! Recycling is not a one-man show, it's teamwork as its best and successful teamwork can be done with impeccable communication. Recycling can be an extra step in the planning process and that's why for many it feels overwhelming. The most successful eco-friendly event planners make sure the process is encouraging, EASY (this is SO important), and fun!
So this is how I see Eco-Friendly Event Planners. I hope we would someday not be our own sector in the industry and this "job title" would be dead in the near future because all event planners are eco-friendly! And especially recycling would be a necessity in each event. Do you think it's a goal set too high?