Event guide – twelve tips for sustainable events
The first step in organising a successful event is to define its purpose. This makes it much easier when moving on to the subsequent steps, such as thinking about target audiences, choice of venue, communication channels, etc. Why are we holding this event? What do we want to achieve?
2. Working committee
It is a good idea to form a working committee with clearly defined areas of responsibility, such as project manager, communications officer, administrator (if applicable, zoom coordinator, host, moderator, etc.). This creates stability and makes the project less vulnerable.
3. Target audiences
Identify the target audiences. Are they internal or external target audiences, or perhaps both?
Choose a venue that suits the purpose and target audiences – on campus or elsewhere. If you want to broadcast the event live, keep in mind that some venues are more suitable than others. Inhousebyrån of the Communications Office can help you figure out what is most suitable. Also take accessibility into account when choosing a venue.
Aim for a list of speakers that reflects equality and diversity in terms of sex, age and ethnicity.
6. Hybrid events
Although it is best to meet in person, offer the option of participating remotely. Strive to also give digital participants a good experience in terms of audio and image. Tip: Ask those participating physically to have their laptop camera on during the meeting – as opposed to just using a single camera on the wall. Audio is the most important thing, though. Use a conference microphone, sometimes called a microphone puck. Some bookable campus venues have equipment installed to accommodate both large and small meetings.
7. Live broadcast
- Do you want to broadcast your event live for a larger audience? Contact Inhousebyrån. Think about which channels are most suitable for your needs: YouTube, Facebook, live.umu.se or perhaps something else? Base your choices on the purpose and the target audiences.
- A broadcasting permit and a broadcasting coordinator are required for live broadcasts. Inhousebyrån can explain more.
- Inhousebyrån can also help with the production of graphics, vignettes, video clips, etc.
8. Communication plan
- A communication plan tailored to your target audience gives you the best chance of achieving your goals. It tells you what to say, when to say it, through which channels and to whom you need to say it.
- There are a number of channels to choose from, such as social media campaigns, print advertising, newsletters, press releases, email, the calendar (umu.se/en/events), digital screens on campus or posters. Base your choices on the target audiences.
Read more about how to make a communication plan
9. Digital over print
Strive for paperless communication and choose digital programmes over printed ones.
- If you want to use name tags for participants, choose ecolabelled paper and a reusable fastener, such as a small wooden clothespin.
- Encourage any trade fair exhibitors, etc. not to distribute printed materials.
- If you produce new material, such as vertical or horizontal banners, signs, etc., think long-term and enable reuse.
10. Travel and accommodation
- When communicating with participants before the event, encourage them to choose train travel over air travel and public transport or bicycles over cars. Or why not carpool?
- Feel free to recommend ecolabelled hotels. ISO 14001, Green Key, the Nordic Swan and Svensk Miljöbas are examples of such labels.
- Tips on alternative modes of transport between the hotel and the venue:
- A ride in a pod taxi.
- Rent an electric scooter.
- Rent a cargo bike, for participants with a lot of luggage.
11. Social sustainability
Let's face it, we forget a lot of what we learn at conferences and the like. But we often remember the interactions we had with other people. We are social creatures who strive for good relationships. Do what you can to make your event memorable, and create opportunities for interaction and social sustainability.
- Organise a bike ride or walk from the hotel to the campus in the morning.
- Plan for interaction between participants, for instance through programme items involving the discussion of topics in benches or hives.
- Use assigned tables instead of free seating at meals.
- Offer a tour of the campus after lunch.
- Enable spontaneous mingling through coffee breaks and shorter breaks.
12. Food and drink
- The dining experience. Elevate the dining experience and make climate-smart choices. Require suppliers to use organic and fair trade products. Perhaps offer vegetarian dishes as standard and animal-based dishes as an alternative?
- Drinks. No bottled water. Water from water dispenser systems is the way to go here. Place out carafes of water with glasses. Serve fair trade coffee and tea and offer organic milk or oat milk.
- Plates and cutlery. Let's bid farewell to disposable plastic items; bring on the dinnerware! If this is not possible, use disposable materials that are compostable. Use washable cloth napkins or Nordic Swan ecolabelled paper napkins.
- Food waste and recycling. Strive to serve only as much food as is actually eaten, for example by offering a buffet. Accept the challenge of generating as little food waste and combustible waste as possible.
13. University-branded products and gifts
Choose from our university-branded products, or you could even choose a climate-smart experience of some kind, such as a food-based, cultural or health-related experience.