When developing an environmental policy for your event:
- Make a firm commitment to reduce the environmental impacts associated with hosting your event.
- Ensure all main partners approve the policy in order to establish a solid commitment to the programme.
- Pick one or two key objectives and focus on doing these well rather than trying to do everything.
- Recognise the importance of communicating the greening policy and details of the programme to staff, suppliers, contractors, sponsors and officials, so that everyone understands the objectives and the benefits and can play their part.
Define your objectives/targets
Determine what you want to achieve in setting your objectives. Objective targets need to be bold enough to be credible, but must also be attainable.
The greening action plan
The action plan is developed to operationalise the strategy.
- For each event it is essential to establish baseline information on current environmental performance and to identify specific opportunities for ‘greening’ the event.
- Most New Zealand venues have green/sustainability policies. Find out what their greening policies are and ensure they are included in your plan.
- If the venues do not meet your environmental objectives, negotiate the policies to be included in your venue contracts early in your event management phase.
Greening focus areas and key considerations
Venue and location
Ask a venue if it has an environmental policy or plan and ask to see it. You could ask specific questions such as:
- Waste – Does it seek to minimise waste and have recycling and composting facilities?
- Energy efficiency – Does it have energy-efficient products and avoid unnecessary lighting?
- Water efficiency – Does it have water-saving measures such as water-efficient taps and dual-flush toilets?
- Staff – are staff aware of environmental policies and trained to implement them?
Waste has possibly the most visible environmental impact of any event.
- your suppliers to minimise the use of individually packaged food and drink items and maximise the use of reusable, recyclable or biodegradable packaging.
- the council to find out what recycling/composting facilities are available in the area.
Endeavour to secure ‘value in kind’ support from your host city to assist in this area.
Travel is often the largest contributor to costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
- If you can, choose a venue that reduces transportation needs or is close to public transport.
- Promote and advertise transport options to attendees prior to the event to ensure they are well informed of the most efficient ways to get to and from the event.
- If the venue is not within walking distance of public transport, offer a bus service to take attendees to and from the event.
- Work with local transport operators and city councils to gain free or discounted travel.
- It is important to get expert advice in this area. The Ministry for the Environment can provide generic advice about offsetting emissions, as well as measurement and reduction activities.
Suppliers and contracts
The suppliers you choose will also influence your ability to reduce the environmental impacts of your event.
Being upfront and clear to potential suppliers on your green objectives can help you choose the right ones.
Ask potential suppliers and caterers about their environmental policies. You could ask if they:
- minimise waste, e.g. by avoiding individually packaged items such as chewing gum
- recycle and compost
- source food, goods and services from local providers
- use certified sustainable products
- use energy efficiently.
Be clear at the start of the tendering process about your environmental requirements and, where possible, ensure they are included in contracts with providers.
Ask goods suppliers to identify supply chains, utilising suppliers with short supply chains is not only good for the environment it can be crucial if you run short of supplies.
Construction and temporary activities
Inevitably construction in some form will be required during the organisation of an event. Temporary structures and activities might also be required.
A lot can be done to improve the economic and environmental performance of facilities, venues and temporary structures by using environmentally sustainable design principles and practices.
Efforts should also be made to source sustainable building materials whenever possible.
Some aspects of greening a major event will be covered by requirements under the Resource Management Act 1991, for example environmental effects during construction and nuisance effects of noise for local residents.
Talk to the local council early to find out whether resource consents are needed. Visit Local Government New Zealand for links to council websites.