Creating Sustainable Events
It is easy to get into the funk of doing the same thing for your event year in year out. Great in some aspects, but not so good in others. The main change we need to think about, as Eventprofs, is making your event more eco-friendly. This does not mean booths are to be made out of used cardboard boxes, attendees drink from recycled cups all while conference sessions are run in low-lighting and no presentation slides. But with just a couple of small changes, this can make a big difference to your events carbon footprint. Here are some ideas!
Brochures, Brochures and more Brochures!
Ah yes, the good ol’ brochures. A misconception that it’s a great idea to paint your booth with brochures, have an influx of them floating around the goodie bag and ‘making it rain’ (dollar dollar bills y’all) at everyone who walks past your booth. But how many are actually retained and referred back to at a later date… pretty much none. They will more than likely get trashed so attendees don’t have to lug them around with them. These days we have this fantastic thing called the internet where all of the information that was typically presented in a printed format can be offered to attendees via beautifully designed web applications! So throw away that brochure stand! If an attendee wants to find out more about a certain area of your Company or requests more information, grab/scan their business card and tell them you will email them (and try and do this asap!). This will open up a line of communication where you can chat to them after the event.
Transform your Booth into an Eco-Wonderland
Move away from the expensive cost of hiring or transporting your event furniture, why not try something eco-friendlier! Bring your event to life with compressed/crushed Xanita board, which is light-weight, reusable, flat packed (for easy cartage) and best of all custom printable. Give your booth a unique green look and feel with not only furniture items but also booth wall prints/panels, maybe a unique table design, 3D standing animal or even a large drink bottle holder (which can be stocked full of soft drinks for people to take away with them!).
Waste-Not Want-Not Giveaways
When walking around an event exhibition, who doesn’t love to collect as many freebies as possible? Maybe it’s a little bit of FOMO (fear of missing out) that kicks in ‘I must collect everything, EVERYTHING!!’. But after the event, how much is actually kept and what is thrown in the bin? The best giveaways are those that are attendee-specific (i.e. a USB that has Company or event loaded information on it), anything electronic related (mobile charges, mobile/tablet screen cleaning cloths, earbuds) and items for the kids (highlighters). So what happens with the rest… trash! Items that are heavily branded, look low quality, un-needed trinkets and those fantastic brochures we talked about earlier are usually the first things to get dumped. Maybe try and be a bit creative. Satchels/backpacks or clothing with bold graphics (and minimal/small branding) are big hits that are most certainly going home with attendees.
If you want to do something different (and to eliminate the thought of any of your potential giveaways getting thrown away), hold a special charity-specific competition at your booth. For example, have 3 jars out the front of your booth, with each jar a different (event-local) charity. Those who come to your booth can then grab a bottle top from your staff rep and they can place it into the jar of their choosing. Then nearing the end of the event, make the draw/announcement on which charity you are donating too (cost can be determined if you spend $200 on merchandise, then use that $200 for the charity amount). This ticks quite a few boxes: very minimal waste, increased foot traffic to your booth, raising awareness to 3 local charities (including donating to one, which can also be used as a post-event PR opportunity) all while your Company comes out looking charitable and socially-compassionate.
So think twice when it comes to your next event. Whether you are the organiser or exhibitor, there is always something more we can do for the environment without substituting on quality.