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Balancing Immersive Events with Environmental Responsibility



Events play a crucial role in the corporate and marketing ecosystems, fostering long-term business partnerships and providing unique experiences for loyal customers. However, there is a huge environmental impact of these events that cannot be overlooked. On average, event attendees generate over four pounds of waste per day. While event professionals have made strides in reducing their environmental footprint, there is still much progress to be made.

Some factors, such as carbon emissions from travel, are challenging to control. But there are innumerable ways to mitigate environmental impact other than going paperless or handing out reusable water bottles. By leveraging emerging technologies and collaborating with the community, the events industry can adopt a greener approach.

Leveraging Technology

Generative AI is at the forefront of many event professionals' minds. While it has its environmental concerns, AI-powered solutions are indispensable in today’s enterprise landscape. Teams should explore how AI can enhance sustainability efforts.

AI-powered tools can assist in reporting on environmental impact. Platforms like Gemini or ChatGPT can analyze event data to calculate the cumulative effect of small decisions, providing valuable insights for improving sustainability. Certain event technology tools may also measure and report on these metrics. Even if sustainability isn't the primary goal, measuring it is essential to understand and mitigate environmental impacts.

For instance, going paperless is often seen as a significant waste reduction measure, but the environmental cost of materials like swag items can be overlooked. AI can support more intentional swag initiatives by calculating the waste generated by each item and pairing it with attendee feedback. Understanding waste and attendee preferences enables teams to choose fewer, higher-quality swag items, reducing both budget and environmental impact.

Reduce and Reuse

Event design offers another opportunity for sustainability improvements. With the increase in in-person events, teams should consider repurposing designs from one event to another. Swag items, for example, can be strategically branded to avoid being limited to a single event, minimizing waste from overproduction. Designing evergreen booth setups and signage can also allow for reuse across multiple events.

Finding the Right Partners

Working with partners committed to sustainability is crucial. Event professionals need event builders experienced in reusing materials and minimizing waste. The choice of venue is equally important; understanding a venue’s sustainability programs can help maximize local impact while reducing the need for additional efforts to create sustainable programs in the host city.

For example, despite careful planning, excess food might remain. Venues can collaborate with local food banks or shelters to donate leftovers, benefiting the community. Additionally, setting up volunteer programs for local clean-up efforts post-event ensures the space is left greener than when attendees arrived. These activities can double as networking events, enriching the community and the event experience.

Consider Hybrid Options

The foundation of events has traditionally been in-person connection. However, the rise of hybrid and virtual events offers an environmentally friendly alternative that also promotes inclusivity. Hybrid events can extend reach with minimal environmental impact, providing meaningful experiences before, during, or after the main event.

Emerging technologies, reducing and reusing materials, leveraging local partnerships, and incorporating hybrid options present significant opportunities to reformat events with sustainability in mind. Committing to greener events doesn’t mean sacrificing the unique interpersonal connections they offer. Instead, event marketers can creatively engage audiences through small changes and thoughtful sustainability commitments. By doing so, they can create immersive and engaging event experiences while minimizing waste and environmental impact.

Partnering with UltraTend can further enhance your efforts in creating sustainable events. With over 8 years of industry experience and a comprehensive range of solutions, UltraTend is well-equipped to meet your needs. Contact us today at +44 20 3807 9480 or via email at sales@ultratend.com to expand your global market presence.

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