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In a recent Nielsen study, 81% of global respondents felt strongly that companies should focus on improving the environment and are using their spending power to effect the change they want to see. While this passion for sustainability is highest among Millennials, Gen Z, and Gen X (accounting for nearly $5.4 Trillion in global spending power), older generations aren’t too far behind.

Sustainability is more than a trend, and it now plays a fundamental role in the strategies of a growing number of companies. Given the heightened concerns of global consumers around environment and sustainability, brands have a unique opportunity to connect with audiences via positive messaging around green culture, thus helping the environment as well as their brand image.

In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency ranked the meeting and event industry the second most wasteful in the US, just behind the building and construction industry.  And while some improvements have been made, there is still a long way to go.

The experiential marketing industry has been discussing the challenges and goals of going green for over a decade. There are many shades of green, and how environmentally responsible your activation will depend largely upon your creative vision and the strategic partners you use.

Not only is Green Event Marketing socially responsible, but it can also create a positive impression on attendees by allowing brands to show off their sustainability credentials. Something as simple as choosing to use edible sampling cups can provide an additional positive component that makes your event more memorable. If your demographic cares about environmental ethics, and we cannot find one that doesn’t, then anything you can do to be more sustainable will be a value to your brand reputation.

Additional Ideas to Consider:

  • Engage with clients remotely and travel less for meetings
  • Work with local vendors or suppliers instead of importing products
  • Consider renting event or exhibit elements as opposed to buying new ones
  • Make use of eco-friendly and sustainable materials to reduce residual waste
  • Ensure your event includes recycling bins
  • Include food waste reduction in your catering plan
  • Choose digital rewards over promotional products/swag
  • Donate leftover elements to charity or other organizations in need
  • Go paperless and think of digital alternatives
  • Partner with water conservation, energy conservation, and/or waste minimization programs
  • Scale back on shipping and use ground transport over airfreight
  • Utilize venues & locations that have a commitment to meeting green standards
  • Consider virtual events

The earlier you start adding sustainable solutions to marketing challenges, the easier it is to keep moving towards more environmentally friendly activations in the future. As an added benefit, this will give you the ‘green edge’ in your brand proposals and could lower overall costs.

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