Five top tips for hosting sustainable events
As one of the best event venues in Christchurch, we have hosted a range of conferences, workshops, meetings and other business events here at The George. In recent times we have noticed a significant increase in customers asking us about our sustainability initiatives—and for advice on how to host an sustainable event. This is something that strongly aligns with our values of caring for our community and environment, so we have crafted a list of our five top tips for hosting your next sustainable event.
Hard-copy conference handbooks, programmes and brochures are fast becoming a thing of the past. Conference delegates no longer expect to receive a branded satchel overflowing with marketing materials and plastic giveaways. Instead, it is perfectly acceptable to place all your conference materials online and find other ways of recognising your sponsors. Those organising conferences at The George have uploaded PDF documents to their websites and displayed QR codes that can be scanned by delegates to bring these materials up on their mobile phones. There are also some fantastic platforms that can be used to create a conference mobile app—some of which are free. With a mobile app, delegates can have venue information, program details, sponsorship and exhibition information at their fingertips—as well as the ability to engage online with fellow delegates and receive updates in the form of push notifications delivered directly to their mobile.
Organise transport for delegate arrivals
Carpooling is a highly effective way to reduce the carbon footprint of your event. If you have people flying to your Christchurch event from other parts of the country (or world), it’s a good idea to arrange shuttle transport to coincide with major flight times. You can share these flight times with your delegates prior to them booking their travel, so that they are aware that selecting the recommended flights will also give them free transport on-ground. If there is no ‘busy’ time for your attendee arrivals, send out some communication to them that includes information on public transport options. It is far more sustainable for attendees to utilise buses than for each to organise their own private taxi or uber.
Select venues within walking distance
If your event includes off-site meetings, field visits, cocktail functions or dinners, we recommend choosing venues that are in close proximity to your primary venue. When customers host their events at The George, they usually opt to have their dinner functions at our on-site restaurant, 50 Bistro. This makes it convenient for attendees as their accommodation and meeting venues are in the same place. If opting for an off-site venue, choose one that is within easy walking distance if possible. This negates the need for attendees to organise transport. Within ten minutes’ walk from The George we have Hagley Park, the Canterbury Museum, the Christchurch Casino and the many great restaurants along the Victoria Street strip.
Encourage guests to bring reusable vessels
Most coffee drinkers have their own keep cups these days, so it is a good idea to ask guests to bring their own keep cups if you’ll be having a coffee cart at your event or expect people to purchase takeaway coffee from elsewhere. Reusable water bottles are also essential; complimentary bottled water results in a lot of plastic waste that can easily be avoided. Just make sure your attendees know in advance to bring these items and make refilling stations easy to find. It can also be a good idea to sell or give away reusable bottles at your event for those who forget or miss the relevant notification. If you are hosting your event at our Christchurch venue, we can provide our crockery and cutlery for use during meals and breaks.
Choose the right venue
While it is becoming more commonplace for event venues to prioritise sustainability, some continue to lag behind the times. When researching for the right event venue, look for things like sustainability policies, certifications and brand values. There are many initiatives venues can implement at little to no cost, and it’s important to support those that are doing the right thing. The George has a variety of sustainability initiatives in place that are all easily found on our website. We proudly share information on our Qualmark Envirogold rating, our commitment to the Tiaki promise, our methods for sourcing and processing produce, how we reducing waste, recycle and conserve water, and our partnerships with environmental groups. If you’re interested on what a venue does in this space but you cannot really find the right information, just ask!
If you would like further advice on hosting a sustainable event at our Christchurch function venue, The George, please contact our events department.