12 easy swaps for eco-friendly events

  1. Hard copy posters with digital poster terminals
    Use digital screens to show a library of research posters instead of a hall filled with hundreds of printed posters. One terminal could save hundreds of posters from being printed and thrown in the bin at the conclusion of the event. If digital is not feasible, consider printing posters on recycled paper with environmentally friendly ink.
  2. Printed programs with a mobile app
    A mobile app is a great solution providing all the event information in one accessible location for attendees. A mobile app not only saves the environment but has so much more functionality. Instantly find program information, view papers, contact attendees and make live updates to your program.
  3. Replace all inclusive registration with opt-in options
    Give attendees the option when registering for a conference or event, to select if they want a printed program and satchel included. Not only do you reduce waste but those who require one will use it.
  4. International with local suppliers
    Support local and small businesses who use local sustainable products and even organic produce. Local suppliers also travel less miles, reducing their carbon footprint.
  5. Branded satchels with online library
    Reduce waste and carbon emissions by swapping branded bags for an online resource library. Contents that normally go into the bag can be available online. This eliminates waste but also the paper and production to produce the materials. Display a QR code on digital signage at the event to communicate how to access the information.
  6. Plastic name badge pockets with durable name badge paper
    Multiple suppliers have recently emerged offering alternatives to plastic pockets and lanyards. Use recycled cardboard or paper that can be repurposed. Consider seeded paper where attendees can plant their used name badge after the event. By adding water they can watch their name badge come to life with herbs or a tree.
  7. Meat focused catering with plant-based catering
    Meat products have a larger carbon footprint over vegetarian and plant-based food. Consider a vegetarian morning tea, lunch or dinners and make sure the venue has a food waste program.
  8. In-person planning meetings with online meetings
    Save emissions by reducing the number of in-person planning meetings and replace with online meetings. This reduces transport costs, additional power in a large space and negates the provision of food catering costs and waste.
  9. Plugin charging stations with people powered charging stations
    Add a fun element to your event with a pedal powered charging station for attendees to charge their mobile devices. More and more suppliers are coming up with fun and unique ways for sustainability at events and it is worth asking local suppliers what they can provide.
  10. One-use exhibition MDF board with reusable board
    Use a stand builder who offers a recycled board and signage option. Avoid polystyrene, single-use plastics, polyester carpets and use energy efficient lighting and non-PVC vinyls.
  11. Replace in-person international speakers with virtual speakers
    Save carbon emissions, time and money by allowing international speakers to present virtually instead of attending in person. By removing flights, accommodation, travel and meals, you reduce the event’s carbon footprint significantly. You can also consider global speakers as holograms to create an impact.
  12. Replace bottled wine for VIP gifts with donations
    Donate to a local charity or community organisation that is giving back to the environment as a VIP gift. Some ideas include a tree planted in their name or purchase carbon credits for a rainforest restoration or clean energy project.


Additional Swaps:

  • Branded cotton lanyards with bamboo lanyards
  • Replace disposable cups with reusable cups
  • General waste bin with compost bins for food waste
  • Imported non-organic with locally sourced organic catering
  • Non-local entertainment with local entertainment
  • Standard gifts with eco-friendly gifts
  • Multiple venues with one sustainable venue
  • Non-sustainable activities with sustainable team building
  •  Mainstream tours with eco accredited tours
  • Non-walking distance to accommodation with walking distance
  • Swap one use plastics for recycled plates, cups, bottles etc
  • Live presentations with Pre-recorded presentations
  • Reusable custom stands with one-use custom stands
  • Replace multiple brochures with one QR Code
  • Change from face-to-face event with hybrid or virtual program
  • Cars with public transport options
  • Printed signage with digital signage