Planning a Sustainable Conference

Planning a Sustainable Conference

What are the best ways to incorporate sustainability into your conference planning?

Organizing a conference requires careful planning and dedication,  and it’s important to look at sustainability measures in the planning process.

Select eco-friendly suppliers.

By choosing eco-friendly suppliers, you can ensure that the products and services provided at your conference align with your sustainability goals.

For example, you could prioritise local and seasonal food options to support sustainable agriculture and reduce carbon emissions from transportation.

Think about a vegan or vegetarian menu which often means low carbon. By  making 80 to 100% of your event’s food vegan and plant-based you can make a big difference to the overall sustainability of your event or conference.

Eco/electronic badges are also an option, and a variety of suppliers can be found online.

Reduce conference collateral.

  • Encourage digital communication and minimize the use of printed materials by providing electronic copies of presentations, agendas, and handouts.
  • If you do use props and visuals  make sure that they don’t go out of date. Avoid putting the exact name and date of your event or conference on things like signage and banners, and instead go for more generic brand-based visuals.
  • Implement recycling and composting stations throughout the venue to reduce waste sent to landfills.
  • Consider offering reusable water bottles or coffee mugs to attendees instead of single-use plastic options.
  • Consider a hybrid event to avoid the impact of travel. Technology means that speakers don’t always have to be face-to-face.
  • By designing a low-waste program, you can significantly reduce the environmental impact of your conference.

Connecting with your audience.

Engaging your audience is a key aspect when planning a sustainable conference.

  • Encourage attendees to participate in sustainable practices, such as carpooling or using public transportation to reach the venue.
  • Consider venue locations and how close they are to public transport.
  • Provide opportunities for networking and knowledge sharing on sustainability topics.
  • Consider organizing interactive sessions or workshops that promote sustainable behaviours and solutions.
  • Actively involving your audience means you can inspire and empower them to make sustainable choices both during and after the conference.

Measure your results.

  • To ensure the effectiveness of your sustainability efforts, it is important to measure and evaluate your results.
  • Set specific goals and metrics to track your progress, such as the amount of waste diverted from landfills, how many people travel by public transport, measuring the carbon footprint of food and drink being served, energy consumption, or carbon emissions.
  • Collect feedback from attendees, speakers, and sponsors to assess their satisfaction with the sustainability initiatives implemented.
  • Use this data to identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions for future conferences.

Here’s what else to think about when planning a sustainable conference.

Consider offsetting the carbon footprint of your event by investing in carbon offset projects.

  • Rather than hand out a goody bag why not donate to a charity instead, it’s a great opportunity to engage with charities and leave a positive impact.
  • If you want to give out a gift, could it be some sort of voucher that could perhaps encourage people to become involved in your business.
  • Perhaps organise taxi shares before and after the event.
  • Communicate that you want your event to be sustainable and encourage the use of public transport.

By considering these additional factors, you can further enhance the sustainability of your conference.

Sustainability is very important to use at Christ’s College. In 2020 Christ’s made the landmark decision  to reduce our carbon by 30% for 2030. We continue to work on the de-gasification of our properties, sustainable energy procurement, and waste management solutions. Further details of our sustainability practices and policy can be found here

If you would like to take a tour of the College and see how we put sustainability into practice, please get in touch.

At Christ’s College, we have excellent conference facilities, in the heart of historic Cambridge. 

Our meeting and dining rooms can accommodate all types of events from small gatherings to large conferences and summer schools, making us the perfect choice for your next event. 

We are accredited by MIA (Meetings in Industry) an assurance of excellence. 

Our dedicated team of staff recently won a Visit England 4 Star Campus Award, as well Gold Bid Award for Best Overall Customer Experience 2022, so you can be sure of a warm welcome.

Cambridge has a Purple Flag Award. This is given to cities judged to be safe and vibrant places to enjoy a night out.

To find out more about our conferences, summer schools, functions, and events visit: or email.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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