Environment and sustainability for events

International and national expectations are that world-class events must have a greening events policy. This section provides guidance for event organisers on how to achieve this.

Environment and sustainability

Environmental protection has become increasingly important to the public and event organisers and owners. Event attendees and participants are very aware of the potential for major events to cause adverse environmental impacts such as pollution, damage to ecosystems and waste.

You should embrace and promote the clean green New Zealand image by ensuring your event is environmentally responsible.

Operating an event in a sustainable manner with an environmental focus is no longer considered as an optional activity or a "nice to have" — it's a must.

The benefits of greening

Factoring environmental considerations into the planning and delivery of an event is not only environmentally responsible, but also makes good business sense.

Hosting an environmentally responsible event will:

  • improve the quality of attendees’ experiences, eg good waste reduction policies and an efficient recycling system will reduce the amount of litter at the event
  • help enhance your relationships with customers and stakeholders
  • save you money — through reduced water, waste disposal and energy costs
  • inspire behaviour change
  • influence suppliers to adopt greener practices and assist in helping the environment and local communities.

This is not only good for the environment, but also good for business and public relations.

Green planning

For each event you must establish baseline information on current environmental performance and identify specific opportunities for ‘greening’ the event. 

See Green planning for more guidance.

Developing an environmental strategy for events

An environmental strategy sets out the rationale for your objectives, and determines what's going to be done to reduce the environmental impacts of hosting the event.

What to include in the strategy

Your environmental strategy should include:

  • an overview of the identified environmental impacts the event is likely to have
  • a clearly defined scope — that is, what environmental impacts will and won't be included in the strategy
  • an aim — what the strategy aims to achieve
  • objectives — how the aim will be achieved. Ideally there would be an objective for each chosen focus area (eg, waste, transport, energy and so on)
  • targets — measurable statements against which success can be measured eg, 60% of waste diverted from landfill
  • stakeholders — the main people (eg, partners and suppliers) who will be involved in ensuring the strategy is delivered
  • measuring success — how the successful implementation of the strategy will be measured
  • risk mitigation — what the risks are and how these will be managed
    the timelines.

Useful documents and other resources

Guidelines and checklists

Ministry for the Environment website — Major Events Greening Guide(external link)

Ministry for the Environment website — Greener Events Guide(external link)

Event Scotland website — Sustainable Sport and Event Toolkit(external link)

Auckland City Council Guideline for Working Towards Zero Waste Events [PDF, 775 KB]

Checklist for Major Events Guide [DOC, 117 KB]


Strategy for an Environmentally Responsible Event [DOC, 30 KB]

Environmentally Responsible Event Action Plan [DOC, 79 KB]


Keep the Oceans Clean — Volvo Ocean Race Auckland Stopover 2012 [PDF, 2.7 MB]

Waste and resource use: Examples of possible objectives, targets and actions [DOC, 46 KB]