Sustainability is slowly creeping back on everyone’s radars. Over the last few years ‘going green’ has not been at the top of many company’s list of priorities. Sustainability certainly hasn’t been a priority for assistants organising events, particularly as we often have to manage events alongside our actual day job and the budgets we have to spend on events are still quite a bit smaller than they were a few years ago.Sustainable events don’t need to be expensive events

The rationale for this is that when times are financially tough – and they have been for the last six or seven years – we only concentrate on the bottom line. Long gone are the days of endless budgets, assistants are now given strict instructions on how much they can spend on the events they organise and sustainability is not something that comes up in a conversation with our bosses.

But I do believe that you can reduce your environmental impact while keeping within your budget. There are lots of ways you can encourage your organisation to go green. Here are a few examples for your events.

Really, truly, go paperless during the event

Removing paper in its many forms from your event makes a very positive environmental statement. So that’s removing copies of paper, presentations, paper questionnaires, paper badges, notepads, flyers and any other promotional material.

With the power, quality and low price of mobile apps, and the proliferation of smart phones, laptops and tablets you have never had a more secure footing to take your event totally on line.

Engage your stakeholders

Running a sustainable event has to be a bit of a team effort. You need to engage not only your attendees but also all of your stakeholders. So let’s encourage:

  • Any exhibitors you have to travel light and to have simple exhibition stands
  • Your speakers and your attendees to travel by public transport
  • Your speakers to upload material online rather than handing it out to your delegates
  • Your venue to consider the environmental impact of your event and reduce it where possible

Ideas like these can reduce the amount of money that your stakeholders are paying to third parties allowing you, if you get creative, to earn that revenue for your event.

Embrace online events

Can your attendees attend virtually rather than physically? This will allow you to reduce the overall environmental impact of your event. A smaller number of physical attendees will allow you to make saving on your fixed costs like size of venue as well as you variables like food.

Source local produce

One thing I love when I attend an event or stay in a hotel is getting a real flavour and taste of the country in which I am staying. I love seeing local fruits, confectionaries and alcohol (not necessarily in that order) supplied by the host.

Many hotels and venues are now providing locally sourced menu options. This may or may not actually save you money but it is something that will help your event be memorable!

Tap water

In the vast majority of western countries the tap water, chilled, with a slice of lemon or lime is the simplest and best refreshment possible. Remove the fancy bottled water from your event. Iced tap water is much more sustainable and pity the venue that tries to charge you for it! Also ask the hotel you are staying in what is there water bottle policy? Encourage them to remove bottled water and replace it with iced water.

Use a venue with everything under one room (or at least close by)

If you have, let’s say a conference with an exhibition which kicks off with a dinner, why not try your best to find a funky venue that can house everything under one room? If you plan for your attendees to play golf or visit the casino or a nightclub see if you can find everything in the vicinity. Bang goes your fleet of buses and taxis. Lower emissions and lower fees. Yes please.

Don’t post anything

Do everything digitally. This aspect of running a sustainable event is very easy to do. Embrace the digital work (including email) and you will reduce your evil footprint and increase your bottom line.


Recycle and take it seriously. We are not just talking about badges and lanyards but this alone can save you £2 a badge (which for your average size conference can save hundreds of pounds) think about the material and signage. You shouldn’t be replacing all your banners for your annual event every year; not every one has to have “2014” on them. Think ahead. Reduce your waste and reduce the budget for next year.

Reduce the amount of food your use and order

It’s not always possible to ethically deal with leftover food but it is possible. At one event I worked with a local east London charity that collected some of our food from the event. We looked at our menu and decided on food that would have a shelf life if unused by our delegates. We made sure very little food went to waste. However the best way to stay green with the greens is to make sure you do not over order food. I would say that over 90% of events over order food. This is also a waste of money.

For assistants that organise events going green can be difficult, especially when we have lots of other demands on our time. If you do organise a lot of events it is worthwhile working with a professional events company. They can help you source sustainable venues and give you lots of event ideas that you might have the time to think of yourself!

Function Fixers

Function Fixers specialises in finding UK venues for all busy PAs. We find venues for conferences, training courses, all kinds of business meetings and corporate hospitality events as well as weddings and private parties. We understand that even PAs have time off and so we also have a great database of bars and party venues for your own social events too!

  • We are an independent venue finding agency and do not represent any one venue. This allows us to search the market to find the best venue for your event and at the lowest price possible
  • We will offer you a personal, one to one service and we will save you time by telephoning venues on your behalf to check availability and rates
  • We strive to save you money. Our aim is to improve on the rates you would be quoted if you were to phone any venues yourself
  • We work with all budgets in all locations in the UK
  • You are under no obligation to book a venue proposed to you by Function Fixers
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  • We can have venue options to you within hours We will provide you with a professional, written venue proposal which will outline the venues available, the costs etc

Our service is FREE!

This post is sponsored by Function Fixers. Follow the link for more information about Practically Perfect PA’s sponsored posts.

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