Sustainable Event Planning

Sustainability can be defined many ways but the basic ideas and concepts remain the same: balancing protection for the environment, economic factors, and social responsibility, so that together we create and safeguard an improved quality of life for ourselves and future generations.


Event development

The planning phase is the perfect time to think about the sustainability of your event. Tacking on sustainability fixes at the last minute can cause unnecessary problems and, even worse, sustainability can get the blame for bad planning. In other words, getting buy-in from the beginning from everyone involved makes it much easier to fulfill your goal of a sustainable event.


Invitations/Promotion

  • Consider paperless options where possible (YUConnect, Yfile story, word of mouth... get creative!)
  • Create branded evites with links to an online RSVP making it easy for your guests, looks very professional, can be more accurate and safe than sign up sheets, and are better for the environment!
  • Develop online posters for your event that act as sharable graphics, links, posters or videos for social media buzz.

Purchasing

  • Buy local, organic, fair trade where possible, even if it costs a little more
  • Minimize event impact by only buying what's needed
  • Challenge vendors/caterers to provide sustainable options

Energy

  • Consider using energy efficient A/V equipment where it is necessary (LED lighting etc.)
  • Consider event options if a venue or a similar event has a smaller environmental impact. For instance, use a suitable venue for the size of your event.
  • Consider energy conservation efforts that you can make as users of a venue (i.e use daylighting instead of artificial light or avoid using a PA system).
  • Always remember to turn everything off after the event is over

Waste

  • Reuse materials from event to event where possible (for repeat events, create signage without a reference to the date, so it can be used again, or signage with a blank spot that can be written on and erased later)
  • Provide adequate recycling and composting at your event.
  • Utilize reusable decorations, supplies, dishes, cutlery etc.

Transportation

  • Ensure equity by planning a safe, inclusive, and accessible event
  • Plan your event at a location that is accessible by public transit, cycling or walking
  • If sustainable transit options are not available, consider organizing shuttle buses or shared transportation for attendees
  • Encourage attendees to connect with each other in advance to arrange carpools

Change

  • Make public your commitment to planning events sustainably before, during and after your events
  • Be as inclusive as possible with pricing of events
  • Consider planning sustainability events, not just events sustainably

Final Tip

Remember, if you aren't sure about the impact of something, need help advocating with a vendor, or have good ideas to share, please contact us at sustainability@yorku.ca.