How to Organise a Sustainable Event: Insights from BMA House

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In today’s world, organising a sustainable event is not just a choice, but a responsibility. At BMA House, we’ve embraced this ethos, integrating sustainability into every facet of our event planning. This guide, inspired by our journey to achieving winners of ‘The Sustainability Award for Venues’ at the 2023 London Venue & Catering Awards, aims to empower you with strategies to create an eco-conscious event that leaves a lasting, positive impact on the environment.

Embracing Sustainability in Every Aspect

True sustainability in event planning is comprehensive. It begins with a thorough assessment of every element – from venue selection to the final wrap-up. Choose venues that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also committed to environmental stewardship. BMA House, for instance, has significantly reduced its carbon footprint by using renewable energy sources and implementing a robust water conservation plan.

When planning your event, think about energy usage, waste management, and the overall ecological impact. Implementing a strict recycling program, using digital signage instead of printed materials, and ensuring that all lighting is energy-efficient are crucial steps. Also, consider the accessibility of the venue. Encouraging attendees to use public transport or providing shuttle services from major transport hubs can drastically reduce the event’s carbon footprint.  In our case for example, we are not only perfectly located close to key train stations and bus route, but we have also implemented a clean air walking route, ensuring visitors have a far quieter and less polluted walk from our nearest mainline station to the venue.

Partnering with the Right Suppliers 

Your suppliers and partners play a vital role in the sustainability of your event. It’s important to collaborate with those who share your commitment to the environment. This means prioritising local vendors to minimise transportation emissions, and choosing caterers who offer sustainable menu options.  In additional to a variety of other local partners BMA’s key supporter in this part of our journey has been Company of Cooks, our catering partner.  They understand our sustainability needs and have worked with us from the outset to ensure that we are constantly improving our green credentials whether it be in the kitchen, behind the bar or on the plate.

Sustainable Catering: Beyond the Menu

The catering at your event can be a significant point of differentiation in terms of sustainability. It’s not just about what’s on the menu, but how it’s sourced, prepared, and served.

Innovative catering solutions are key. For instance, at BMA House, we’ve embraced menus that highlight the carbon impact of each item, allowing guests to make informed choices. Eliminating high carbon footprint items like beef and introducing a diverse range of plant-based options has been a game-changer for us and it could be for your events as well.  Meat plays one of the biggest parts in the climate crisis that we face – reducing or eliminating it entirely is an incredibly positive step to take.

But it’s not just about the food. How it’s served matters too. Minimise the use of disposables by ensuring the use of reusable cutlery and crockery. If disposables are necessary, ensure they are compostable or recyclable. Also, consider the presentation and packaging of food. Using locally-sourced, minimal, and recyclable packaging can significantly reduce waste.

Engaging Attendees in Your Sustainability Journey

At BMA House, we actively involve our attendees in our sustainability efforts. We provide clear information about our practices and encourage them to participate.  We also make sure that from the outset they know we are an award-winning sustainable venue and that they are a part of that journey.  Coming here doesn’t mean they will receive a lesser experience, just because it is more environmentally friendly.  In fact it will be an improved experience, something different and most importantly something memorable in a positive way that ensures the event delivers for the long term as it resonates throughout the years.  Nothing is more impactful than guest talking at a subsequent event about how different things were at BMA House and how much they enjoyed the food or would like to return.

Leveraging Technology for Eco-Friendly Events

Technology can greatly enhance the sustainability of your event. Digital invitations, online registrations, and e-brochures can significantly reduce paper waste. Also, consider the potential of hybrid events. By combining in-person and virtual elements, you can reduce the overall carbon footprint of your event by minimising travel.

Winners of ‘Best Venue for Hybrid Events’ in the 2022 London Venue Awards, at BMA House, our success with hybrid events has shown how technology can not only enhance the attendee experience but also contribute to sustainability goals. For instance, using digital platforms for attendee interaction and feedback reduces the need for printed materials, while live streaming options can reduce the number of attendees who need to travel.  Don’t forget though to do your research – digital events use more power and energy so don’t let that outweigh the impact of the live event.

In conclusion, organising a sustainable event is a journey that requires thoughtful planning and a commitment to making a positive environmental impact. By adopting the strategies outlined, inspired by our practices at BMA House, you can ensure that your event is not only memorable but also a beacon of sustainability. Embrace this opportunity to lead by example, demonstrating that events can be both extraordinary and eco-friendly.


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Adam Parry
Author: Adam Parry

Adam is the co-founder and editor of www.eventindustrynews.com Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.

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