In order to organize a sustainable event, a clear full commitment from the management/steering group is needed. It is recommended that it should be explicitly written out and used in all of the communication/marketing of the event and not to be forgotten in the minutes of the planning meetings of the event.
In the beginning of the planning of the Solutions local, together Conference it was decided to bring sustainable development into practice! The entire conference preparation was focused on arranging an event with as low carbon footprint as possible, yet enabling a physical meeting of the participants. This was being reached through following key principles:
- All amenities and hotels were in close proximity in order to minimize the use of transportation. For this reason, the conference was organized in the City Theatre that is located in the centre of the city.
- The conference promoted responsible travelling.
- The catering was to be organized using local products and environmentally friendly suppliers.
- The use of disposable products was to be eliminated.
- Only products/materials, that could be reused/recycled after the conference, were to be used.
The planning of a sustainable event needs to have enough resources to succeed. Especially a sufficient planning time and people are needed. In the end calculations, the sustainable choices in many cases, turn out to be cheaper than non-sustainable ones.
In the case of the Solutions local, together Conference, the planning time from the tendering of the venue to the actual event was 2,5 years. This made it possible to focus, not just on environmental aspects, but also on creating the social dimensions for the sustainable event. The need for staff resources got bigger as the event got closer. Especially the full service in three languages (English, Finnish and Swedish) and the large number of side events of the conference requested more time and staff.