collecting data at your event

In my last blog I talked about creating an environmental plan for an event organization. When organizing and producing your event you should keep an eye on what resources you are actually using. How can you minimize the impact on the environment? Can you measure the impact? How can you save yourself some money?

Think of all the items you can measure:

  • Energy
  • Waste
  • Paper
  • Water
  • Food
  • Recycled material
  •  Noise
  • CO2

Once you measure them you can than figure out what needs to be done. Start with measuring things in your office. Walk the walk, so to speak. After that you should start with your event. For more information about greening your event, visit my website eventtutor.com.

Your office

Each month you get a bill from the energy company. You can start measuring the amount of energy you are using to power your office. Your festival might happen only one weekend per year but you are operational in an office building the rest of the year.

Perhaps you can have a look at how much paper you use in your office and what you can do to minimize this. Or is it already at an ‘acceptable’ level?

Did you ban the use of plastic water bottles in your office? More and more festivals urge their audience not to bring plastic bottles to the festival site. So why not start implementing it in your office?

You might also want to look at how you can minimize food wastage at your office. Perhaps it is time to make your staff aware of food wastage. Make sure you inform your staff and educate them. The same goes for you audience...

Your event

During your event you will use electricity and fuel. But do you know how much energy your festival is actually using? Think about it, you need energy to power your:

  Toilet trash at festivals

Toilet trash at festivals

  • Stages
  • Foodcourt
  • Bars
  • Production area

I’m sure you can think of other items as well that need, and use, some form of energy. Consider all these items and decide how you can measure your output. Once you have collected the data you can decide how and where you want to reduce your output. Besides energy you should look at all the other items you can measure, such as waste and water. Eventually you want to look at your total carbon footprint.

Carbon footprint

A carbon footprint is, according to Belz & Peattie (2012, p68), “the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted by a product along the entire life cycle”. 

Translate that to the event industry and you are looking at all the greenhouse gases you emit when planning, organizing, and producing your event. Research conducted by Julie’s Bicycle and A Greener Festival indicates that transport is the biggest contributor to an event’s carbon footprint.

Greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gases are not necessarily bad. The only problem is that all these gases need to be in balance and that is what is currently changing.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency provides a lot of research on the different greenhouse gases and explains how they calculate and measure the different gases. Their website is epa.gov.

  Let's hope it does!

Let's hope it does!

The main reason I want you to have a look at EPA’s website is because you should ask yourself: who should be ‘managing’ the reduction of greenhouse gases and how should they go about this?

Perhaps the government should manage this. The problem is that every few years we choose new politicians hence policies might not be implemented. Perhaps the different industries should manage it themselves. It is a difficult subject as there are many different event and event organizations that make up the event industries.

Let’s start by looking at how you can manage your event’s greenhouse gases. Start measuring your output and come up with creative solutions on how you can minimize the impact.

For more information about collecting data at your event go to my website www.eventtutor.com. Also visit the previous blog about your environmental plan