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SYMPTOM: My boss has asked me to make this year’s Christmas party a bit more environmentally conscious but I don’t know where to start. Can you suggest some simple steps to get me going?
REMEDY: If you’ve hired an event organiser, get them to do the groundwork for you. Most event companies (and venues) now have their own CSR policies and are able to advise on all issues surrounding them. If you’re going it alone, check out our bite-sized prescription below.
Save on paper and postage with email invitations. If designed properly, they can look just as good as more formal cards, and with more space for information such as maps and directions, there’s no need to send an additional fact sheet.
Choose a venue that’s accessible by public transport – and encourage guests to use it. Alternatively, put on coaches to cut down on individual car use or opt for carbon-neutral vehicles like rickshaws. If you want cabs, order hybrid cars from Green Tomato (tel: 020 8568 0022).
Make sure your caterer sources local, seasonal ingredients. Not only will your food be more delicious – it will cost you less as well! Plastic cups and cutlery are obviously a no-no and you’ll want to ensure recyclable materials are properly disposed of.
When theming, consider creative LED lighting instead of weighty props (the truly dedicated could even have them powered by so-called ‘green electricity’, bought in specially for the event). Cut flower displays can be replaced with reusable potted arrangements.
This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, Autumn 2008.