Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Greening an event

For event organisers it is sometimes difficult to green an event, as so many of the factors are outside your control, such as guest’s carbon footprint in getting to the venue, the venue’s use of electricity and water and a lack of alternative transport modes in South Africa.

One way to offset the probable carbon footprint, is to team up with such organisations as Trees for Africa, Wildlands Conservation Trust, Earth Patrol, Climate Africa etc.

Here are some more steps you can take that will add to the overall ‘greening’ of an event and include the three Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle.

Accommodation and activities
Consult your local authority about accommodation and activities that promote green practices. Most cities can offer new ideas for guests that promote the environment and add to leisure pleasure.

·        Give preference to venues with a sound environmental policy

·        Work with the venue to ensure lights and air conditioning are switched off when not in use

·        Consider venues that use as much natural light and natural ventilation as possible

·        Ask for jugs of water with slices of lemon for delegates – South African tap water is perfectly drinkable and bottled water is a waste of natural resources, energy and a pollutant

·        Use local, in season food to support the economy and reduce transport

·        Select fish from sustainable fish supplies

·        Avoid unnecessary packaging and plastic bags

·        Where possible use bulk dispensers for sugar, salt, condiments and sauces.

·        Avoid individually wrapped sweets

·        Try to reduce the food wastage – is a three-course meal necessary at lunchtime?

·        If plastic and paper waste are generated, ensure the venue supplies separate bins for delegates to be active recyclers

·        Try using ‘living’ décor such as moss, stones and succulent plants. Send your decorations home with your guests at the end of the event or reuse them for another event

Printed material and information
·        Use new media and electronic technology to reduce paper use – SMS seating and registration details

·        Use electronic registration and market electronically via website and email

·        Collect and reuse name badges

·        Produce all relevant information, presentations, papers and web links via electronic media

·        If you do have to print – use recycled paper and print on both sides of the paper

·        Consider requesting guests to bring their own pens and notepads (most have notepads leftover from other events)

Finally, include the greening message at some stage in the proceedings to remind your guests how fragile the ecosystem is and how all can assist in greening the planet.

Our commitment
Litha Communications is a member of the Event Greening Forum and our CEO, Andile Ncontsa, is a board member of the forum.

We seek to offset the carbon footprint of our operations and take care to conduct our business in an environmentally responsible way. We offer our clients an opportunity to do the same by contributing a tree for every delegate that attends our events.

For this purpose, our NGO partner of choice is the Wildlands Conservation Trust. The Trust is working to conserve our region’s biodiversity through the development and facilitation of innovative solutions, which take into account the unique biodiversity assets of South Africa while sustainably meeting the socio-economic needs of current and future generations. Most importantly, they offer marginalised youth and women, new skills in new green industries that protect and preserve our heritage and the planet for future generations to come. For more information, go to www.wildlands.co.za.

We also contribute our time, talent and materials to Waste2Wow, a job creation design and manufacturing studio that recycles advertising banners and billboards, turning trash into creative and desirable eco-friendly “wow” items - www.waste2wow.co.za. 

We believe that enriching society and preserving our planet for future generations is not an option or a nice thing to do - it is a matter of necessity

For more greening ideas, go to http://eventgreening.co.za/resources/

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