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Blog article 4 min read

7 Tips to Plan a Sustainable Event

Preslea Jane

Written on

When it comes to sustainability and events, it can be difficult to navigate a plethora of options claiming to be eco-friendly.

Presenting: green-washing glasses that will let you see through the clutter and find the sustainable choice with ease.

What is a sustainable event?

Amid ongoing concerns with the recession and inflation, certain costs are being deemed as essential. For forward-thinking companies, sustainability efforts are increasingly a non-negotiable.

And that's because attendees, especially with the influx of next-generation-event-goers, look to see their values reflected in the events they attend and the organizations they support. Being transparent about how you are going to lengths to create sustainable events is one sure-fire way to create trust with potential clients and partners.

By definition, a sustainable event minimizes its impact on the planet at every level of planning and execution: including vendor and venue choice, and smaller details like decor.

Featuring Planned’s new sustainability filter

Choosing sustainable venues and vendors is a key element in creating an environmentally-friendly event. It’s the foundation upon which you can make the remaining choices through a sustainable lens.

Planned’s marketplace of 230,000 suppliers provides much to choose from, and that’s why we’ve launched a new sustainability filter to easily sort through verified green options.

Currently, sustainable venues are labelled as LEED certified based off their official certification site. LEED is an architectural and energy related certification that allows users to identify a building that was designed with sustainability in mind and whose energy practices are sustainable.

With this tool, you can compare a variety of sustainable option. From there, you can make a choice based on cost and other factors.

Up and coming

In the near future, Planned will have more detailed requirements for suppliers requesting to be listed as sustainable.

For venues, there will be a full breakdown of how they are sustainable (for example: using renewable energy).

For vendors, other details will include if they source food locally.

Ultimately, we aim to have a more detailed analysis to demonstrate in what ways these suppliers are truly sustainable.

7 tips for creating a sustainable event

If you’re new to creating sustainable events, here’s a list of curated tips from event professionals. For a more comprehensive overview, take a look at the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals for where we all need to do our part.

01. Location, location, location: choose a venue close to attendees to minimize travel, enable and incentivize sustainable travel, consider the impact on the destination (negative impacts, as well as potential positives such as donations or other economic benefit)

02. Walk the talk: demonstrate your organizations values through events, building strong relationships through shared values, following through with plans and creating trust among clients and employees

03. Prioritize: accept that not every one the 17 goals will be achieved at every event, focus on what you can do immediately and effectively, what will have the most impact, and take action now

04. Inform: dedicating part of an event to discussing sustainability efforts in an engaging way, especially when conversing with other event planners, can create a ripple effect of sustainable expertise and enthusiasm, which is crucial to keep forward momentum

05. Know the impact: your event will have an impact on the environment, so recognizing this as a fact and doing everything you can to make good choices, and offset anything that can’t be avoided, is an ongoing responsibility for everyone in the industry

06. Remember the ‘why’: the only way we can continue to have events is with a healthy planet to have them on, so if priorities start to shift inadvertently, come back to this vitally important point and communicate it with teams and executives

07. The gift that keeps on giving: avoid unnecessary and wasteful gifts, choose something that resonates with your attendees’ values, or abstain altogether and explain your choice to do so

💡 And because we know event professionals always love a good to-do list, here’s the ultimate checklist to help you reach your sustainability goals!

Your event checklist for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals


  • donate to local communities
  • donate leftover food


  • incorporate health and well-being into event design
  • inform selves on impact and sustainable options
  • filter for sustainable venues, vendors, and other elements
  • glassware for water instead of plastic
  • venues and a/v using renewable energy
  • design for engagement that reduces inequalities
  • minimize and properly dispose of waste generated from events


  • educate attendees on sustainability
  • promote gender equality through speakers, guestlists and accessibility


  • optimize the impact on the destination to be net positive
  • create positive career and economic growth
  • partner with organizations making strides toward sustainability
  • think about how each event fits into a larger plan for sustainability at your organization

If you’re not sure where to start, our team is here to guide you!

We’ve partnered with hundreds of corporate event planners over the years and gained a strong expertise in creating sustainable events.

We’re always just a phone call away.