Sustainability is big business nowadays, with scientists collectively agreeing that the human race is in imminent danger when it comes to climate change, and that we have approximately 12 years to save the planet before changes are irreversible. With this in mind it makes sense to factor sustainability and eco-friendliness into all parts of everyday life. On a more personal level that might mean using a re-usable water bottle, not flying by private jet (difficult we know) and making more informed decisions when it comes to what we eat.
On a broader basis however, have you ever thought about how much damage is done to the environment when you host an event? From food wastage to unnecessary use of non-recyclable materials, big events can be detrimental to the environment. With events being hosted all over the city for all number of things, it is up to us as event planners as well as venue spaces themselves to make sure we are making all the changes we can to have great events that are still environmentally conscious. There is only one earth after all.
We have put together a number of different ways you can make your events more sustainable as well as the perfect venues to host them at.
How to make your event sustainable
There are a number of things both big and small that can be done to make your event as sustainable as possible. From invites to clean-up and everything in between, a little extra and more careful planning means you can enjoy an environmentally friendly and sustainable event that is just as fun and completely guilt free.
Although it may seem like everything these days is digital you’ll be shocked to know that 12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard are used every year in the UK. To avoid contributing to that shockingly high number, skip the paper invites. Instead email people all the details they need and use a digital guest lists at the door when checking people instead of faffing around with long paper guest lists. Menu-wise, instead of printing hundreds of menus that will be used for 10 minutes and never seen again, send digital options ahead of time, that way, not only are you saving paper but you know what to cater for in advance. It’s a win win.
If you plan on transporting guests to the venue, hiring a bus or coach is much better for the environment than booking 100+ Ubers for a short journey around the city. Not only will a bus be more sociable but you’ll save money that can be used on a number of other things that will help make your event more sustainable. If possible, why not host your event within walking distance of the office; there is nothing more environmentally friendly than walking after all.
When it comes to food, being fully sustainable and still pleasing the masses can be a difficult one. A great option is to offer a completely vegan menu to your guests. With so many exciting and tasty vegan dishes on the market now, guests are unlikely to miss the meaty dishes. If this sounds completely unrealistic to you, we suggest hiring caterers that source food locally to reduce those air miles – Greta Thunberg would be proud.
It may seem like an obvious one, but plastic use at events can often be unbelievably high. With the likes of decorations, plastic water bottles, table favours and goody bag gifts often being plastic, it’s time to cut down. First thing's first, ban plastic water bottles. Instead go for glass bottles on each table or opt for jugs with a selection of fruits incorporated for a refreshing alternative to plain still water. Try to avoid gimmicky plastic table favours and decorations, rather opting for more sustainable alternatives that will actually be useful to your guests instead.
Clean up after an event is always the most dreaded of tasks, and it can be tempting to just throw everything into one big bin and forget about it. But since we are now being environmentally conscious, why not take the extra time to split your rubbish into landfill and recycling and make sure there are both recycling and regular bins around the event for guests to use themselves. If possible avoid table cloths where you can too, as washing them can be harsh on the environment; instead opt for stylish and easily wipe-able tables.
Where to host your sustainable event
Now you have a game plan on what steps are needed to host the most sustainable event possible, it’s time to find a venue that will be perfectly suited both to your guest and your plan. We have included a few dotted around the city that are making moves when it comes to saving the planet.
Why: Church House Westminster has a huge focus on being more sustainable when it comes to hosting events. Here you’ll find recyclable glass bottles, energy efficient and sustainable products and devices, the use of ‘green’ electricity and seasonal produce used wherever possible in the kitchens, as well as a host of other things that make this event venue greener than most. It is even part of a green tourism scheme giving its efforts formal recognition. On top of all the steps it had taken to become as environmentally friendly as possible, the venue space itself works perfectly for big meetings and formal sit down dinners alike with 13 different spaces to choose from.
Where: Dean's Yard, SW1P 3NZ
Why: Named one of the most sustainable events venues in the UK, 15Hatfields, works hard to make sure that everything is as sustainable as possible. Using caterers that source all their produce locally and responsibly, plasma screens instead of paper signage where possible and making sure all the heavy duty equipment you need is already provided at the event so carbon emissions from transporting it to the venue are kept low, it’s easy to see why 15Hatfields are leading the way in sustainable events. Located on the South Bank, and able to accommodate up to 530 people, this is the ideal spot for bigger events.
Where: South Bank, SE1 8DJ
Why: As finalists for the best sustainability initiative at the 2019 London Venue Awards, the Wellcome Collection knows a thing or two when it comes to sustainable venues. As one of London’s most exciting venues, Wellcome has reduced its Co2 emissions by 7.7 tonnes after implementing a food wastage system. On top of this it also supplies re-usable glass bottles during its events, and converts non-recyclable waste into energy. This event space isn’t only super environmentally friendly, its quirky and fun too, which will get guests talking.
Where: 183 Euston Road, NW1 2BE
Why: With at least 3 out of 5 green rating in all its cinemas, Curzon pledged in 2017 to focus more on sustainability. This means that you’ll find little to no plastic at any of Curzon’s cinema, 100% renewable energy supplies and environmentally friendly aware staff doing everything they can to reduce Curzon’s environmental impact when they can. As an event space itself, Curzon is perfect for screenings and corporate events and with so many around the city; you can pick one that is convenient for you.
Where: 38 Curzon Street, W1J 7TY
Why: Sports stadiums are often some of the best places to hold events. The spacious venue location and great views of the cricket pitch at Lord's make it an exciting and memorable events space. On top of it already being a fantastic venue space, it operates using 100% renewable energy, has banned single use plastics, donates unused food to local people in need and uses food waste to help generate energy. Lord’s is taking steps in the right direction to a more sustainable and brighter future.
Where: St John's Wood Road, NW8 8QN
Want to eat at some sustainable restaurants too? These eco-friendly restaurants are worth a try.