Sustainable Events

Hosting a sustainable event is about taking measures to reduce the negative environmental, social, and ecological impacts of your event. Sustainability is not all or nothing — even small efforts can produce big impacts. The key is to focus on areas where you have the most influence and to grow from there. Here are some resources compiled by Noteworthy for TEDx to help you understand the general steps, priority areas, and regional considerations for organizing a more sustainable event.

Sustainable Event Toolkits

Sustainable TEDx Event Toolkit
7 step general process for organizing sustainable events, action plan template, and specific sustainability strategies and examples under the topics of: food & beverage; energy; waste & materials; travel & transportation; communications, education, and outreach; employee & community health; and, hotel & accommodation.

Sustainable Events Toolkit
10 step checklist to organizing a more sustainable event, by the Regional Activity Centre for Cleaner Production and the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture, and Sustainable Development.

Sustainable Sport and Event Toolkit
Although specifically designed for sport events, this toolkit includes helpful tips, an interactive wiki web platform, and a checklist for organizing sustainable events worldwide, from the International Academy of Sports and Technology, prepared for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Committee.

Carbon Footprint / Emission Calculators
Greenhouse Gas Protocol
Suite of emission calculators for service sectors, including calculation tools for direct and indirect emissions.

Terrapass Event and Conference Carbon Footprint Calculator
Simple 6-question calculator designed to calculate the carbon footprint of flights and car trips to events and conferences, and hotel stays.

Carbon Offsetting Programs
Comparison of Carbon Offset Standards
World Wildlife Federation (WWF) report that compares the most common voluntary carbon offset standards worldwide.

About Carbon Offsets
Resource on what to look for from carbon offset programs, explaining why some carbon offset programs are better than others.

Sustainable Event Certification
BS 8901 Sustainability Management System for Events
The British Standard specifically created for sustainability in the events industry, and one of the few global standards for sustainable event management certification.

Green Globe Certification Standard
Worldwide assessment of the sustainability performance of travel and tourism businesses and their supply chain partners.

ISO 20121
The International Organization for Standardization’s event sustainability management system (still under development in April 2012).

“Green” Building Certification
List of “Green Building” initiatives worldwide
Growing list of over 30 countries’ green building standards, across six continents. To help you encourage venues in your area gaining “green” credentials, whether they be via refurbishment of existing buildings, construction of new buildings, or achieving “green” interior certification.

“Green” Hotel Certification
The Green Key
A European-based eco-label for hotels, campsites, attractions, and restaurants in 28 countries worldwide.
Green Leaf Eco-Rating Program
US-based rating program that audits hotels, motels, resorts, conference centers, inns, bed & breakfasts, and tourist destinations for water quality, water conservation, waste minimization, resource conservation, and energy efficiency.

Image courtesy of Amsterdam RAI.

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