Eco-friendly events

10 clever ways to green your next conference

Ten eco-friendly ideas that will lessen your impact on the planet

From choosing a conference venue that uses renewable energy, to reducing food miles by championing local producers on the menu, there are many ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your conference.

It’s easy to get carried away when planning conferences, but corporate events can be wasteful affairs if you don’t make conscious choices along the way. Thankfully there are many easy ways to make your conference or other corporate event more sustainable, without sacrificing on style or comfort.

1. Choose one location 

Eliminate the need to travel between locations by choosing a conference venue that can do it all. With your accommodation, activities and more formal presentations all happening in the same place, you can reduce the amount of carbon emitting into the atmosphere while transferring guests between locations (you’ll save time and money on transport costs too). 

2. Select an energy-wise venue

Having your conference at a venue that uses renewable energy is an easy way to make your conference more sustainable. Did you know that RACV Healesville Country Club & Resort has recently installed a new 372kw solar power system that will reduce the venue’s carbon emissions by 30%. RACV is also committed to installing solar power systems across its other resort and conference venues as the year unfolds.

3. Go native

Organising floral decorations for your End of Financial Year get-together or annual Christmas party?  Be sure to ask the florist where their blooms are sourced from. Many people are surprised to find out that Australian florists import flowers from Asia, Africa and beyond. An easy way to reduce the carbon footprint of your flower arrangements (and support Australian flower farmers at the same time) is to use locally-grown blooms, or even better, choose native varieties such as everlasting daisies, bottlebrush, waratah, wattle, and banksia.

view across cape schanck golf course and resort exterior at golden hour
handwritten welcome sign to outdoor event
19th hole at racv goldfields resort

4. Choose paperless options

Instead of wasting paper on printed invitations to corporate events, choose digital invitations instead. There are many websites that allow you to create personalised, interactive, digital invites that allow you to track RSVPs with ease. You’ll save on printing and postage costs too! Instead of handing out printed brochures, documents and flyers at your event, make information downloadable on your website instead.  

5. Be water wise

With much of Australia currently in drought, water is a precious resource not to be wasted. Choosing a conference venue that collects and reuses rainwater is a good way to support sustainable practices. For example, rainwater at RACV Cape Schanck Resort is collected in a 100,000 litre tank, and is then repurposed for irrigation and waste water.  Every drop counts! 

6. Limit food waste

It’s estimated that each year in Australia, more than 5 million tonnes of food ends up decomposing in landfill, emitting harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Limit food wastage at your next conference by carefully planning menus based on attendance numbers. It’s often tempting to over-cater, but seek advice from the venue’s caterers before ordering to limit the amount of food that gets binned at the end of the conference. Even better, choosing a venue that composts its food waste will considerably reduce your conference’s carbon footprint. RACV Cape Schanck Resort has a worm farm and compost system, which reduces the amount of food waste ending up in landfill.

7. Give green gifts

If you want to give your conference attendees, keynote speakers or special guests a gift, opt to give them small potted plants such as cacti or succulents, or travel-friendly biodegradable seed packets if you have guests coming from near and far. A living gift that they can plant at home and enjoy for years to come is a much greener option than a plastic, single-use item that will probably end up in landfill.

branches of a tree in sunlight
signature dish at cape schanck resort
chef preparing fresh herbs

8. Champion local producers

When it comes to your catering and dinner menu, choose locally-sourced ingredients and brands. Forget French wine and imported beer, choose Australian winemakers and beer brewers. Ask the chef or caterer where they source their meat, cheese and fresh ingredients from, and make it known that you’re keen to incorporate as many local producers as possible into the menu. From sourcing local cheeses to curating wine lists packed with the region’s best producers, RACV Resorts are known for showcasing Australia’s growers, cheesemakers, winemakers, brewers, and distillers.   

9. Say no to plastic bottles, plastic bags and disposable coffee cups

Encourage conference guests to bring their own refillable water bottle and reusable coffee cups. Offering filtered water instead of plastic, bottled water will reduce the amount of plastic ending up in landfill by the end of your conference. Instead of handing out conference gifts or items in plastic bags, gift attendees a reusable cotton tote bag they can keep using for years to come.

10. Support good causes             

If you’re planning team building activities, then getting conference delegates involved with a local environmental charity or Landcare group is a great way to get everyone together in the name of sustainability. Whether it’s a morning of tree planting, or an afternoon of collecting rubbish in a national park or nature reserve, your conference can have a positive impact on the planet.