What are the key steps involved in organising an environmentally-responsible event ?
Think about sustainability as soon as you start planning your event! This will enable you to identify key areas and define your objectives. First and foremost, this involves having a responsible purchasing policy for service providers, venues and products (local suppliers that respect environmental standards; minimal purchases, selected with a view to being reused or recycled, etc.). It is therefore important to cooperate with the destination to make your event as sustainable as possible, as well as to analyse your purchasing practices and make your requirements known to selected venues and service providers.
Your company may already have a responsible purchasing policy
While the choice of venue and service providers may be the key to successfully holding an environmentally-responsible event, other aspects should not be neglected: awareness-raising among employees and other event stakeholders; self-assessment and highlighting of your actions that convey a positive and engaged image for the organiser. To start, you can calculate the carbon footprint of your event on the GoodPlanet Foundation website.
Then these are the various aspects that are important to consider in the early stages:
If possible, analyse where participants are coming from in order to provide more targeted solutions (80% of the carbon footprint of a national event is related to transporting goods and people).
If the event organiser is covering transport costs, favour the use of:
- Rail transport for journeys of less than 4 hours;
- Shuttles between the various event venues.
If participants are covering transport costs:
- Raise awareness by providing carbon footprint figures for the various transport modes;
- Provide information about the various means of transport;
- Facilitate car-pooling by providing an ad board for participants on the event website;
- Provide information about local public transport (all types, including non-motorised options).
• The ADEME Carbon footprint calculation provides a comparison of the various transport modes
• This tool to display the journey and enable the combination of different transport modes
• Ideas on how to use carbon offsets for unavoidable flights
• Solutions to go to Lyon by train or by plane*
• Public Transport and Rhônexpress from the airport
• Self-service rental bikes
• E Bikes Station Bees or AllBikesNow
• Electric scooters Dott ou Tier
*Please note for Saint Exupéry airport that 100% of waste is recovered (airport carbon certification ACA 3+/ ISO)
Choose a venue with environmental certification or that has introduced good sustainable development practices (environmental objectives in writing or an action plan of ways to achieve them, a purchasing policy promoting environmentally-friendly products, local or organic food offering, disabled access, etc.) As far as possible, favour the use of eco-designed buildings, with water and energy saving systems, built with renewable materials and enabling sorting of waste.
If the venues are not certified or do not have any particular environmentally-responsible actions in place, organisers can request that they commit to one or more actions. Many actions are simple and easy to set up (for example banning the use of plastic bottles).
Partner venues and accomodations engaged in an environmentally-responsible approach.
Event service providers
If the event organiser chooses the caterer, include one or more environmental criteria in the search: zero packaging, local and seasonal produce, vegetarian options, organic, environmentally-friendly or fair-trade food, tap water rather than bottled water, composted food waste, reusable crockery, etc.
If the event venue has a partner caterer, ask the venue what their caterer’s environmentally-responsible commitments are.
Partner caterers engaged in an environmentally-responsible approach :
• Serge magner, ISO 20121-certified environmentally-responsible caterer
• La fine fourchette, ISO 20121-certified environmentally-responsible caterer – sustainable values
Event furniture & stands
Favour rental and pooling of equipment or, in the case of manufacturing, go for companies that offer local and sustainable production.
• GL Events Mobilier
• La French Cabane
• Axial Design
Favour certified transport companies that deploy actions to control and reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions, vehicle maintenance waste and waste water discharges.
Partner coach companies engaged in an environmentally-responsible approach :
• Philibert, signatory of the Diversity Charter, EcoVadis certification (silver medal)
• Autocar Maisonneuve, signatory of the CO2 Objective Charter, ISO 14001 certification
-Reduce and optimise printing;
-Print on both sides, in black and white or duotone rather than quadtone;
-Only offer the number of documents necessary for the tourist documentation order;
-Choose local printers (to avoid transport) that have signed the Imprim‘vert Charter (management of waste, energy consumption, etc.);
-Choose recycled and environmentally-certified paper;
-Favour remanufactured cartridges or that meet the requirements of the official NF Environnement ecolabel.
• Imprim'vert ("print green")
• Label PEFC
• Labels FSC
• Label NF Environnement
-Reuse the back of signs for another event;
-Choose reusable display cases, banners and badges;
-Check what materials and ink are used;
-Check how waste is managed after signs are taken down.
Limit or do away with distributed promotional objects. If promotional objects are used, they should be useful, reusable, not require batteries (or if they do, plan for their recycling), eco-certified, produced via fair trade or manufactured by local organisations using local materials.
• Atelier Roannais de Maroquinerie (passport covers/leather card holders)
• Abiessence (organic lavender essential oil)
• La Papoterie (bookmarks, filigree paper notebooks)
• Le papier fait de la résistance (notebooks, recycled paper and stone paper)
• Jordenen (organic recycled cotton tote bag)
Each of the items on this list is related to other actions that are inherent in an environmentally-responsible approach:
Waste management and sorting, food composting, etc. are indispensable actions that allow the organiser to close the loop on their eco-responsible event. There are many initiatives of this kind in Lyon, deeply-rooted in most event structures.
Inclusion, integration, accessibility are also vital to the success of an event; they have an impact on the individual, on the well-being of all, and are essential in the consideration of all in the preparation, organisation and running of an event. This area remains underdeveloped despite the fact that it affects 5 million people and that the obligation of accessibility is governed by the French Disability Act of 11 February 2005. Here are the initiatives that we feel are important to highlight:
• Mobee Travel
For further information about the steps to be taken, the methodology to adopt and the certifications to be aware of to choose the right partners, you may consult the comprehensive information sheet (in French) co-produced by the French agency for ecological transition (ADEME) and AER (an assistance platform for environmentally-responsible events).
Reminder of the main certifications for events:
ECOFEST : Certification initially created for student events, which has now been extended to other types of events;
PRESTAD : Certification for event and show organisers;
GREEN GLOBE CERTIFIED : International standard for responsible events;
EVENEMENT ECO-ENGAGE : Certification offering self-diagnosis;
ISO 20121 : The ultimate standard for green events.
Reminder of impacts for an event with 500 participants:
1000 KW : equivalent to the annual consumption of an oven;
2,5 tons of waste, or half the annual consumption of a person in the EU;
500 kg of paper, or the equivalent of 12 trees.