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.

Events can have a large environmental impact, so the Office of Sustainability is encouraging the community to make events more sustainable through considering factors such as waste management, accessibility and reducing or eliminating their carbon footprint. 

How can I certify my event?

Step 1:
Review the tips listed below.

Step 2:

Complete the Sustainable Events Certification - Checklist

Step 3:

Submit your Scorecard electronically to A member will review it and rank its level of sustainability. You will receive email confirmation if your event is eligible to be a Certified Sustainable Event.  

Event Planning Tips

The planning phase is the perfect time to consider the sustainability of your event. Getting input from everyone involved with planning in the beginning stages, opposed to making last minute fixes, can avoid unnecessary problems and makes it easier to accomplish a sustainable event. You also avoid the possibility of blame being placed on sustainability, instead of a lack of planning.


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


  • 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.


  • Consider using energy efficient A/V equipment where it is necessary (LED lighting etc.).
  • Pick a venue with a suitable size for your event and consider venues that have smaller environmental impacts.
  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Make your commitment to planning sustainable events before, during and after your events.
  • Be as inclusive as possible with pricing of events.
  • Don't only plan events that are sustainable, but also consider planning sustainability events.

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