Embedding a CSR approach into the organization of business events is now a recurring request from many companies. Between food for thought and concrete alternatives, find below 10 tips for a successful responsible event.
1/ Prioritize your actions
Organizing a 100% CSR event, which acts on the environmental, social and economic impacts, is a commendable and ambitious project. But the task is more difficult than it seems, as there are so many aspects to study. Move forward step by step, and focus on some actions rather than others. Choose your battles according to your local strengths and overall impact they might have.
2 / Choose a certified responsible venue
The location of the event is particularly strategic to limit negative impacts on the environment. It must be easily accessible, have a great ability for flexibility and be in harmony with your sustainable development actions. Favor eco-labeled and ISO 20121 certified venues, which guarantee exemplary commitment and know-how in hosting responsible events.
3 / Source carefully your partners
Organizing a responsible event relies heavily on the active collaboration of your service providers. Audiovisual, decoration, maintenance… each role has its environmental, economic and social problems. But the solutions often outweigh the problems, so being able to work as One Team for the success of the event is critical!
Be strict when choosing your partners, who must both respect standards and share your values and ethics.
4 / Get the support of a professional
When managing an event, responsible actions are numerous, complex and sometimes new for many event project managers. The support of a CSR consultant (internal or external to the company) can be extremely valuable. S/he can help you define the right approach by carefully crafting challenges and objectives and ensure that solutions are met in a collective way, conforming to the highest CSR standards.
5 / Involve and engage
Unity creates strength, so it is necessary to involve each participants, through activities, team-buildings, simple actions to be implemented, responsible behaviors to demonstrate during the event – so that they become agents of change and stakeholders in your CSR approach, individually and collectively… during the event but most importantly after!
6 / Select local and seasonal products
Food & Beverage (F&B) is a major contributor to the environmental impact of an event. Therefore, you should play local, with F&B services favoring local and seasonal products, or turn to fair trade labels.
Waste treatment is also an important challenge. Consider setting up food redistribution systems, internally and / or externally, or select venues recycling food waste on site.
7 / Pool and recycle
Pooling is an excellent eco-responsible habit. Think about accessibility by public transport, car-pooling… Favor rental to purchase for everything that is furniture or decoration. Also, equipment is an important item that can be reused from one event to another, from one year to the next…
Recycling and pooling should be considered even in the signage of your event: wooden panels can easily be sanded and repainted for another event for example … Above all, be ingenious and inventive.
8 / Focus on bio-based or 100% recyclable materials
Tableware, straws … Since January 2020, the production and sale of certain disposable plastic products – that have a disastrous environmental impact – have been progressively prohibited. Favor reusable tableware as much as possible. Otherwise, surprise your employees with reusable, biobased or 100% recyclable materials – such as disposable plates and platters made of palm leaves, reusable in bamboo, biodegradable in corn starch, or even edible with wheat bran…
9 / Stay away from greenwashing
In a word, have a sincere and transparent approach. To avoid wrongly conveying a responsible image, be realistic with your issues, consistent with your commitments and precise in your communications. If you have any doubts about your choice of actions or communication, call upon a CSR consultant or rely on sustainable development recommendations, such as those from the French Professional Advertising Regulatory Authority.
10 / Keep a continuous progress approach
Being the best student in the class doesn’t happen overnight. Be both ambitious and patient with your CSR commitments. Take advantage of the post-event assessment to ask yourself the right questions again. What were the impacts of my event? Have I achieved my goals? Are my priorities still the ones I set for myself? Is it possible to go further? How?…
CSR is an area of continuous improvement in an ever-changing world. Even if there is still a long way to go, all our collective and individual awareness is a step closer to a cleaner and more ethical world with resources duly preserved.