Guest blog: Using technology to create more sustainable events

By Toby Heelis, CEO, Eventopedia

With the rise of the climate protection movement, the event industry is forced to take a look at certain practices and become more sustainable. Not only is climate change an urgent global issue, but also increased consumer awareness means that events just have to step up and do better. 

Planning a sustainable event covers many aspects such as venue choice, waste reduction & management, resource use, transport and more.  

For the creative planner, technology provides incredible potential for improving event sustainability in a myriad of ways. From mobile technology that is already becoming widely adopted for events, to more advanced AR and VR solutions that are rising as tech develops further, the event industry should embrace digital transformation and keep up in today’s tech-driven environment. 

Here are some ways to use tech for a more sustainable event:

Go paperless

One of the simplest (and most common) ways to boost sustainability is by using technology to replace the vast amounts of paper produced for events. Digital guest lists, seating plans, agendas, brochures, menus… there’s no shortage of options to choose from. Going paperless can not only reduce paper waste but also overall event costs. 

Data analytics tools

Data is everywhere and recent years have brought an increased awareness of the power of analytics tools. The events industry is no different. 

Data analytics can also help event planners organise a more sustainable event. Historical data can provide a framework upon which to strategically improve, while real-time event data (e.g. from event apps) can help better manage sustainability aspects as the event unfolds.  

Measuring tools

Technology can also be used to measure waste, electricity and water consumption, as well as overall carbon emissions more effectively. This data can be used to identify areas of concern and future improvement. 

Green venues 

Many organisations are already using smart technology solutions to create ‘greener’ venues, by 

using tech to minimise resource use and find alternative solutions for green energy, such as solar panels. 

Event planners can create a more sustainable event by choosing a venue that uses such sustainable tech solutions. 

AR & VR

Virtual reality and augmented reality are some of the most exciting tech developments, with a wide range of use cases for the event industry. AR/VR can promote event sustainability in different ways. For example, attendees could visualise various product features through VR, instead of having to use more event space, energy, transport etc. for the real product. AR can also be used to enhance the user experience.  

Virtual attendance

Hybrid events will also rise as VR will enable an increasingly immersive virtual attendance experience. AV capabilities are also advancing, allowing for quality remote attendance options. 

Hybrid and remote options are not only more convenient, but they also lower the environmental footprint of attendees by reducing transport, waste, energy use etc. 

Get creative

While the above-mentioned tech uses cover some of the broad aspects that can be taken into consideration for events, there are many other ways to get creative with technology, such as: 

  • pedal powering (various activities such as pedal power blending – people can generate the electricity for their smoothies)
  • energy-generating pedestrian walkways (essentially converting footsteps into energy!)
  • arranging transport using electric vehicles
  • your solution (time to get creative with tech!)
Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: molly@eventindustrynews.com