Simple Acts to Make Your Next Event Sustainable

July 05, 2016

Event Sustainability

Whether you are celebrating a big milestone with your company or an anniversary with family, here are a few simple tips to help make your event sustainable.

When acting in the name of sustainability, it’s important to keep in mind that we are aiming to sustain a healthy quality of life for all.  This refers to both present and future populations around the globe.  While not every action you take will meet this goal in its entirety (that’s a huge challenge), the idea is to create a ripple effect of positive action from your initial act.

Although I don’t have a checklist to share on how you know something is sustainable, I do have a general suggestion as to how you can assess things on your own.  In this particular circumstance, it comes down to proper management of resources.  That often translates into two simple gestures: reduce & reuse.

If you can reduce your dependence on resources, and reuse resources so as not to deplete in excess, you are well on your way to sustainability.

Below you will find a few concrete examples of simple acts you can initiate at your next event.  While not every gesture is possible in every situation, even the smallest act can reduce the overall carbon footprint. And, if it’s executed in style, I can almost guarantee you will inspire one of your guests to follow suit at their next special occasion.


  • Go local and organic for the menu.  The closer to home your food comes from; the better it is for the Earth and for yours and your guests’ health.  Food sourced close to home means less carbon emitted from transportation, and the added benefit of higher nutrients due to freshness of fruits and vegetables.
  • If you have a set menu with more than 3 courses (appetizers, main, dessert), consider offering guests biodegradable take-out containers for their leftovers. 
  • Splurge on the good stuff, offer your guests fair trade coffee and tea.  The benefits of choosing fair trade for items like these are plentiful.  The taste and quality is often superior, you are supporting growers globally who are working in harmony with the Earth for fair wages.  It’s a win-win-win situation!


  • Choose a venue that is centrally located to reduce the distance traveled by guests.  If you have out of town guests, consider choosing a venue that has accommodations within walking distance or in the same building.
  • Look for a venue that is environmentally conscious.  For example, the building may be LEED certified, or it can boast lots of natural light reducing dependence on electricity for daytime events. 


  • Consider using potted plants as centre pieces or accent pieces throughout the space.  At the end of the event, send the plant home with lucky winners by raffle or by playing a game.  Bonus points if you can find a native perennial allowing guests to plant it at home and enjoy it for years to come.


  • When possible send e-invitations rather than mailing out invitations.
  • If you have a program for the event, consider creating a short condensed version for the table, and have a detailed version available online for guests to refer to after the event.  This small act will save considerable amounts of paper and ink.


  • If you are celebrating something, consider asking guests to make a donation on your behalf rather than giving you a gift.  A graceful way of doing this is by noting on the invitation “best wishes only or donation to _______ (insert cause here)”
  • Would you like to give your guests a thank you gift?  Consider planting a tree on behalf of every attendee!

While these are just a few tips to reduce the carbon footprint and negative environmental impact of your next event, they hopefully have inspired you to start thinking sustainability.  If you have a suggestion to share, we’d love to hear from you. Comment below and inspire others to take a greener approach for their big occasion.



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