The year 2020 saw a massive – if somewhat less than expected – 6.4% drop* in global carbon dioxide emissions compared to 2019, and we now know that the drastic fallback in vehicle transportation and travel contributed significantly to the 2.3 billion tonnes of C02 produced over the course of the last year. Scientists, however, are already predicting an equally strong rebound in carbon footprint increase once the pandemic ends, and life as we know it resumes.
After a forced reprieve and virtual detour, the event industry is gearing up for a return to bringing people together physically once again. This will, of course, coincide with and contribute to the increase in domestic and international travel, logistics, and transportation. However practical for environmental purposes, virtual events are not sustainable in the long run, and live and hybrid events – the blend of in-person gatherings and virtual audiences – will soon rise. With global warming on everyone’s mind, all industries need to contribute to further reductions of global CO2 emissions (far larger than the drop achieved last year), and for many years the event sector has been working on doing its part* in curbing climate change, but the need to improve and do even better is greater than ever.
Along with our technology partners, our AV Alliance members are all doing their part individually in reducing their carbon footprints by implementing environmentally friendly event solutions, processes, and technology that point towards a sustainable future. Many of our member companies have strict policies dedicated to the recycling of materials, sourcing sustainable products, and optimizing energy consumption. There are various changes that a production company or client can adopt in order to make their event more climate-friendly, especially if it hosts a live, international audience:
1. Recycle equipment, materials, and resources wherever you can
2. Find sustainable ways to save on waste – materials, food, etc. – during your event
3. Whenever possible, book accommodation close to or at your venue
4. Save on paper and make your event invitations, brochures, leaflets digital
5. Optimize energy consumption, or opt for clean, renewable energy sources to power your event
6. Encourage your attendees through incentives to choose environmentally friendly transport methods to your venue
7. Plan your event with eco-friendly logistics solutions in mind, such as reduced freight times, etc.
8. Source your equipment locally to cut back on your event’s carbon footprint
9. Work with “smart venues” that are committed to sustainable practices
10. Collaborate with trusted event suppliers who offer environmentally friendly solutions and services
Bonus tip: Find out how you can offset your event’s carbon emission with the help of a carbon footprint calculator!
Less transportation, less impact on the environment
For us, event professionals it is not surprising that, according to various studies, it is transportation that makes up close to 90% of CO2 emissions of an event*. One way to reduce the environmental impact of events is to plan for sustainable logistics solutions that consume less fuel and energy, create less waste. Many transportation suppliers offer special, green solutions that aim to help event production companies and organizers cut back on their carbon footprint, aiming to reduce travel and freight times, etc.
At AV Alliance we are also doing our part centrally, and have done for the past decade ever since our founding, to help our partners and clients curb their carbon dioxide emissions, and by doing so also allow them to save significantly on transportation costs. For us it is not only the use of more environmentally conscious transportation methods that make a difference, we are also in the favorable position to build on the strength of the AV Alliance. The members of our close-knit global network regularly collaborate in sourcing cutting edge audio visual equipment among each other; our 350,000 square meters of combined warehouse space spread over 100 locations worldwide allows us to support each other with the latest, state-of-the-art gear and event technology available to us on a local level, saving our clients not just significant cost in transportation and often customs, but also the complexity and environmental impact of long-haul equipment shipping.
Greener hybrid events
Virtual events are undeniably the greenest of them all, however they are not sustainable on the long run for entirely different reasons. While, for instance, there is no traveling – international or otherwise – or food waste, and significantly less transportation is involved, the need to meet in person is a fundamentally human desire and, in many cases, an absolute must when it comes to doing business. While we eagerly await the end of the pandemic, however, we cannot be ignorant of the effects that our lives picking up at lighting speed will have on the environment once again.
Thankfully, hybrid events will not only be the ideal solution to bridge the yet-unfamiliar post-Covid world of events, but they will also help the industry with their mission to move towards a more sustainable future. As long as the pandemic poses various travel bans and size limitations to in-person gatherings around the world, transportation for attendees will happen on a much smaller scale that it did before 2020. Just as with virtual events, the possibility to join hybrid meetings remotely will provide a good alternative for those who are discouraged from international travel, business-related or otherwise, while lower in-person attendee numbers will result in less consumption, less transit, less logistics, and less waste.
Hybrid events also support the digitization of materials, another important “green” step towards creating less waste and saving paper. By providing the same digital documentation, brochures, white papers, leaflets, or even books to both your in-person and virtual audiences, the cost and environmental impact of printed materials can be reduced significantly, while creating a cohesive event experience for all your participants. Online resources can work very well with the use of virtual platforms, offering e-libraries for attendees to browse. The increased use of digital technologies during live and hybrid events, such as digital signage and LED screens, also creates a less paper-focused way to reach your audience through dynamic branding and communication.
We encourage you to take advantage of our global network by engaging our AV Alliance members for your next hybrid or live event, and contribute to the reduction of your carbon footprint!
Use local, save global.