In our December issue, we explored the evolution of eco-friendly practices in event marketing and experience building. What we discovered is that, these days, going green at events is no longer an add-on but an expectation. Event marketers are taking a holistic approach to sustainability, examining the entire life cycle of an event and how the trickle-down effect of even slight shifts in thinking can have an impact on the event footprint, the local economy and the world. Here, a look at five sustainable ideas and insights from around the industry.
1. Banner Recycling Services
Ever wonder what happens to banners after the close of show? Freeman delivers bulks of used banners to Skygroup, a company that transforms vinyl banners and repurposes them for projects such as ice skating rink liners or irrigation ditch covers. Companies like Relan upcycle vinyl, mesh, polyester and jersey banners into stylish bags and totes. Intel for the 2010 Intel Developer Forum distributed 400 messenger bags made from 5,500 square-feet of vinyl banners that hung from the rafters in the Moscone Center.
2. Sustainable Campuses
Spread out over a six-acre campus in Maine, TideSmart/emg3’s headquarters is a sustainability oasis. Among features of the campus: a LEED-certified logistics center powered by solar energy and built with a complete water reclamation system; a recently completed structure declared Maine’s first Net Positive Passive House; two electric vehicle-charging stations that until recently were the second installed in Maine. And then there’s the cash incentive the company provides for any employee who invests in a new electric vehicle. This spring, the company is opening an on-campus Hydroponic Greenhouse for use by employees and the community.
3. Attendee Incentives
Bonnaroo attendees are incentivized to clean up litter and recycle on The Farm via the Clean Vibes Trading Post. On offer are items ranging from merchandise to VIP tickets linked to a certain trash amount, which festivalgoers can redeem by turning in collected trash. To limit wasteful bottles of water and encourage use of refillable vessels, Bonnaroo installed a multi-faucet water station that pumps water from an on-site well.
4. Edible Sampling Cups
Check out Loliware (loliware.com), a collection of 100 percent all natural, non-GMO, gelatin-free, gluten-free dining cups made from seaweed, organic sweeteners and flavors and colors derived from fruits and vegetables. They come in flavors like Yuzu Citrus and Tart Cherry or the unflavored “Natural Clear.”
5. Green Certification
In June, Global Experience Specialists (GES) became the first general service contractor to be certified by an international sustainability standard for the meetings and event industry. GES exceeded Level One and achieved Level Two certification to the Accepted Practices Exchange/American Society for Testing Materials (APEX/ASTM) Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards. The standards came out three years ago and essentially offer a stepping stone to LEED certification. Show management must satisfy nine categories ranging from paperwork to transportation to food and beverage to hotel and venue in order to achieve the certification. The certification was developed by the Convention Industry Council to set specific standards for what actually constituted a planned “green” show or meeting.
• What Happened to ‘Going Green’ in Events?