Hosting a sustainable event is all about making conscious decisions to minimize the environmental impact of the day. Here at Larchfield Estate, we are passionate about sustainability, and are a carbon negative venue(!!) (View one of our previous blogs here). So already, by choosing us for your event you are going a long way to being as sustainable as possible!
However, of course there are always more steps we can, by all working together, take to host a sustainable event:
Set one or more clear sustainability goals: Determine the specific sustainability objective(s) you want to achieve with your event. It could be reducing waste, conserving energy, promoting eco-friendly transportation, or supporting local vendors.
Choose a sustainable venue: Look for event venues that prioritize sustainability. Consider venues that have implemented eco-friendly practices such as energy-efficient lighting, recycling programs, and sustainable waste management.
Minimize waste generation: Implement strategies to reduce waste during the event. Try to avoid single use plastics – such as plastic bottles or favours / gifts. If a corporate event, encourage guests to bring reusable water bottles and provide water refill stations instead of single-use plastic bottles. The water at Larchfield Estate is really good quality – use jugs of tap water on the tables, which can be refilled throughout service. If for example you are having a BBQ street stall style food, use compostable or biodegradable plates, cutlery, and napkins. Set up clearly labelled recycling and compost bins throughout the event space. (We have these outside our kitchens back of house, so, for obvious reasons your guests won’t see them but as part of our automatic processes we recycle wherever possible!)
Use digital communication: Minimize paper usage (and transport for delivery of invitations etc) by utilising digital invitations, replies / registration, and event materials. If a corporate event utilize event management software or apps to streamline communication and provide event details electronically. At Larchfield Estate, we are currently working on transferring over to a new event management software platform, which will allow us to remove even more paper from our work flow (which is already extremely digitally led).
Energy conservation: Many suppliers do all they can to minimize their carbon footprint – we know of some who are planning to switch to electric vehicles for example! Most, if not all of our approved caterers, use locally sourced produce, so their ingredients are not travelling so far from source, to your plate on the day. Larchfield Estate has sensors for many lights throughout the property, so lights are only on when needed. Likewise, we use solar power to help supply electricity during the day time usage.
Sustainable transportation: Encourage guests / attendees to use eco-friendly transportation options such as carpooling or arriving and leaving by bus (we can help with contacts for this!)
Source locally and sustainably: Support local vendors and suppliers who prioritize sustainable practices. Choose organic, locally sourced, and fair-trade food and beverage options. Avoid single-use plastic containers or utensils and opt for bulk or package-free options. There are companies out there now providing incredible dried, or artificial flowers, or ensuring they are sourcing flowers from local farms, or growing their own!
Offset carbon emissions: Calculate the event's carbon footprint and offset it by investing in certified carbon offset projects. These projects can help compensate for the emissions produced during the event.
Educate and engage attendees: Raise awareness about sustainability during the event. Share information about the event's sustainability initiatives and provide tips for attendees to lead more sustainable lives.
Earlier this year, we hosted an evening of entertainment and dining for tourism trade from across the globe in collaboration with Tourism Northern Ireland & Event-Ful, and the menus were printed on this incredible seeded card! Each guest could then take this away with them, and plant in their own home or garden:
Do remember, hosting a sustainable event is an ongoing process! If we can all make decisions that consider the sustainability of our events, then collectively we will reduce carbon emissions and each make our small contribution to protecting this amazing planet.
As a venue, we continuously seek feedback, learn from each event, and strive to improve sustainability practices.