Transforming MICE: Embracing Sustainability in Event Management
The Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions (MICE) industry has always been about more than just events. It's about creating experiences, inspiring people, and making connections. But, in an era where climate change and sustainability are no longer buzzwords but urgent imperatives, it's time for the MICE industry to step up and play its part in shaping a more sustainable future.
Events, while incredibly valuable, can also be incredibly wasteful. From energy consumption to food waste and carbon emissions, the environmental footprint of an average event is far from insignificant. However, the tides are changing. According to a 2022 study by Skift, 73% of event professionals consider sustainability a priority for their events.
Here's a deep dive into how event planners can integrate sustainability into their strategies and contribute to the green revolution.
Choosing Eco-Friendly Venues
The venue is the first step in your event planning process and can set the tone for your sustainability efforts. Here are some points to consider:
Location and accessibility: Choose venues that are easily accessible by public transportation, reducing the carbon footprint of attendees traveling to your event. The Global Destination Sustainability Index can be a handy tool for selecting sustainable destinations.
Green certifications: Look for venues with sustainability certifications, such as LEED or BREEAM. These certifications assure that the venue adheres to strict sustainability standards.
Resource management: Opt for venues that prioritize energy efficiency, water conservation, and waste reduction. This could mean anything from LED lighting and solar panels to rainwater harvesting systems and recycling initiatives.
Reducing Food Waste
Food waste is a monumental issue at events. The Sustainable Events Alliance reports that event attendees typically generate 1.89kg of food waste per day, 60% of which is avoidable. Here's how you can tackle it:
Mindful planning: Over-ordering is a significant contributor to food waste. Use data from past events to estimate more accurate food quantities. Catering platforms like Food Maven or Winnow use AI to help businesses cut food waste.
Sustainable catering: Choose caterers who source locally-produced, seasonal, and organic foods, reducing the carbon footprint associated with transporting and producing food.
Food donation: Partner with local food banks or charities like Feeding America or The Real Junk Food Project to donate leftover food.
Encouraging Responsible Travel
Travel and accommodation associated with events are often the largest contributors to the event’s carbon footprint. Here's how you can promote responsible travel:
Carbon offsetting: Provide attendees with the option to offset their travel carbon emissions. Companies like Terrapass or Atmosfair can assist with this.
Hybrid events: Consider hosting hybrid events, where attendees can participate virtually if they can't (or prefer not to) travel.
Sustainable accommodation: Recommend hotels that have green certifications or sustainable practices in place.
Remember, sustainability is a team effort. Engage your stakeholders – attendees, vendors, sponsors, and staff - in your sustainability initiatives.
Communication: Clearly communicate your sustainability goals and strategies to your stakeholders. Make it easy for them to participate.
Training: Train your staff and volunteers on best sustainable practices. Their actions can significantly influence the overall sustainability of your event.
Feedback: After the event, solicit feedback from stakeholders on your sustainability efforts and suggestions for improvement. This feedback can be invaluable for enhancing your sustainability practices for future events.
Embracing sustainability in event management is no longer optional; it's a necessity. It's a journey that requires commitment, creativity, and constant learning.