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Selecting the Right Hybrid Event Venue with a Sustainability Lens

Michael Doyle Photo
Michael Doyle
, VP of Customer Service, Engagez

A 2021 study by researchers at Cornell found that events and conferences with 50% in-person participation (and 50% virtual) have the potential to slash overall carbon footprint and energy use by two-thirds.  This makes working toward sustainability in events a priority in making a tremendous impact on overall CO2 emissions and reducing our carbon footprint. This article will explore steps that can help you find the right venue to host your next hybrid event that will make sustainability a priority for everyone!

Cornell researchers also estimate the events industry is responsible for more than 10% of global CO2 emissions.

  • Set your Goals

From the very start, consider utilizing SMART goals to track, measure, and improve your progress. This will also establish initiatives to clearly communicate your sustainability priority to your attendees, vendors, and partners to involve them in the measures that you take. When exploring all your sustainable options for your event, take it all the way! Take your event hybrid, and utilize digital software and platforms like Engagez. Engagez can offer unique solutions to level up your event and enhance your priority of sustainability that will promote a unique selling point and brand! When taking your event hybrid, what should you look at in ensuring carbon neutrality?

  • Selecting a Venue

The choice of a venue for a real-life event has generally been based on location, capacity, and cost. Virtual events initially look at which event platform to use. But, the choice of venue for a hybrid event involves more than just these factors. As we move away from simply adding video recordings of presenters for the virtual audience to view, the need for sophisticated hybrid venues is becoming more and more important. 

Each venue you consider for your hybrid event will offer different technology and event packages and we are seeing more venues upgrade their technology to better serve hybrid events, offering such services as in-house AV teams, special sound and lighting effects, broadcast studios, and more. All of these things are amazing and can enhance the overall hybrid event experience but where does the venue rank on sustainability initiatives and how will they work with you to achieve success in your sustainability efforts? 

Considerations for selecting the right physical venue:

  • Look for venues that have a sustainable architecture, including solar panel installations, green roofs, water-conservation fixtures, energy-efficient lighting appliances and efficient heating, cooling and ventilation systems.
  • Selecting a venue that has a ‘green certification’, venues that follow practices set up by or are certified through EMAS, LEED or ISO 20121 would be an ideal place to start! 
  • Exploring venues that offer technologically advanced eco-conscious solutions. These venues typically offer additional features, like designated recycling programs, automatic lighting systems, and electronic signage that minimize paper materials and resources.
  • Rethink food and beverage choices. Providing food and beverages to attendees may be a requirement for your event however, event waste is another HUGE impact on our environment. Rethinking what vendors you use or what measures you can implement to reduce event waste can make a big difference!
  • Let go of traditional virtual attendee SWAG. We all love a good event SWAG bag, but hosting a sustainable event will require even organizers to consider alternative methods of attendee SWAG.
  • Location Accessibility

One of the first things to look at when looking for a sustainable venue is to consider the location – it won’t matter how eco-friendly your venue may be if your attendees, vendors, and other event stakeholders have to travel a long way via airplanes or cars to get there. Travel is one of the largest contributors to CO2 emissions. Within the event space, research says that event-related travel can account for up to 80% of CO2 emissions. Selecting venues that are centrally located for all your attendees can be one way to greatly reduce this impact. Other considerations that can reduce the impact include: 

  • Pick a venue that is centrally located and easily accessible by public transportation or walkable routes. 
  • Provide your attendees a detailed map consisting of bus and train routes.
  • Offer special Incentives for car-pooling or offer a shuttle service as an alternative.
  • When it comes to accommodation, you can reduce transportation needs by picking a hotel that is close to where the event is being hosted. Even better if you choose a venue that can double as lodging. Also, just like with the event venue, select hotel(s) that follow green policies and practices.
  • When hosting an international or nationwide event that requires people to come in from various locations, try to find a venue that’s near an airport, a train station, or another hub of transportation so that the event is easily accessible.

Engagez is committed to joining you on your sustainability journey as we know that Net Zero initiatives will require more than just keeping some event attendees home and may require many sessions of brainstorming and thinking outside of the box! Hosting sustainable events starts with understanding how to incorporate eco-friendly practices throughout all stages of planning, implementation and evaluation.

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