Richard Dodgson, Founder and Creative Director of Timebased Events discusses the potential for technology to address the crucial issue of sustainability in the events industry.
It is without a doubt that being sustainable is one of the most important aspects of our day-to-day lives. The increased social consciousness and global buzz around the subject is uplifting, especially as it has always been an integral part of the way we have run Timebased Events.
Over the past 20 years, we have been involved in creating events for huge brands across the globe. We have launched Coast in the north of England, Westfield in Derby, and held Fashion’s Night Out with Hugo Boss in Manchester. Each time we have never forfeited our value of sustainability and every time, we have been praised for the quality of event we have put on.
Although sustainability has always been a top priority for us, what is refreshing to see is the number of agencies who now too put it at the forefront of their event planning. However, the importance technology has had in allowing this to happen, can’t be overlooked.
The evolution of technology has presented us with exciting new ways to minimise our wastage and reduce our carbon footprints. For example, it is now possible to produce an edible water bubble made of seaweed to replace the need for plastic bottles. Although this isn’t applicable to us all, it shows one of the many innovative ways in which technology is enhancing our ability to be sustainable.
There are five easy ways in which event organisers can increase their sustainability levels, saving them money, rather than costing them more – often a misconception of going green.
Events offer a unique opportunity for organisers to collect and keep vast amounts of data, from the age and profession of attendees to metrics surrounding event attendance and what times of the day are busiest.
Professionals within the industry will have been keeping this data for years, but it is only relatively recently that we have been able to fully utilise the power of this information. Through data analytics, an event can be streamlined to reduce the resources being used and the amount of waste being created.
This is not only beneficial from a sustainability viewpoint, but also results in money being saved, which can be spent in providing a more premium feel for your event.
Going paperless may sound obvious, but it’s remarkable to see how many event agencies do not utilise the technology around them to do so. By inviting attendees via email, or even through a dedicated app or event page, you not only reduce your carbon footprint, but also create a channel where you can communicate in real time with your audience.
Flyers can be replaced with e-sites designed for the event, meaning if anything changes, such as a speaker cancels or timing in the schedule, then the site is just updated. Projection can also be used in favour of print, for set and stage design, and once again comes with added benefit of being amendable.
Lighting, especially for medium to large scale events, can have a huge impact on your event’s environmental conscience. By utilising an efficient, clean and eco-friendly use of illumination, such as LED lighting, your event does not only hugely reduce its carbon footprint, but also becomes much more versatile. LED lighting can offer a wide range of different looks, moods and atmospheres to fit any event.
When organising an event, think about how to encourage attendees to travel to the venue in an eco-friendly way. This can be as simple as choosing a location near a train station, offering coach travel or even introducing an app which supports carpooling.
Another option is to pair with a local taxi company and offer taxi sharing. This reduces the attendee’s carbon footprint and also makes the event more favourable with a local business.
Reducing the use of non-renewable energy sources is a must if you want to have a sustainable event. Choose a venue which utilises renewable energy, such as solar and wind, or implement your own efficient system design, which has the latest technology to help reduce power usage.
Not all solutions may be practical; however incorporating just one of these is a still a great step forward. And as going green gains increasing traction in the news and within social spheres, those who have moved towards a sustainable future will not only benefit from the good they’re doing and potential money they’re saving, but they will also be more favourable to their climate-conscious delegates.