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Choosing Sustainable Event Suppliers in Melbourne

Boy putting flyers on recycling and composting bins at an event

When discussing sustainability goals in the events industry, event organisers will frequently discuss how many aspects of their events are ‘out of their hands.’ Organising an event requires coordinated effort from many different partners, suppliers and vendors, and it’s true that event organisers are not often privy to the business practices and policies of each of their suppliers. 


However, there are plenty of steps that event organisers can take to produce sustainable events and take back control of their sustainability goals. One of the most important of these steps is choosing sustainable suppliers, partners and vendors. By following the guidelines below, event organisers can choose suppliers that prioritise sustainability in every aspect of their business. 


Venue selection


Choosing a venue is often the most important step when planning a sustainable event. Venues frequently use their own preferred suppliers, which offers you less control over important event elements that can generate waste. It’s important to vet any potential venues by asking for their sustainability policies and supplier information. Venues that prioritise sustainability should have this information readily available and be willing to share this info with clients. Use this City of Melbourne event venue checklist to ensure you’re choosing the right venue. 


Sustainable venues prioritise energy efficiency, waste reduction, and ethical sourcing, ensuring that events leave a positive footprint on the planet. Below are a few venues in Melbourne that prioritise sustainable practices and suppliers. 




Centrepiece event venue at Melbourne Park with outdoor seating and umbrellas

Centrepiece at Melbourne Park


Water Management


Water is used at events in many different ways, from hydration stations to sanitation. ​When planning your event, think about where your water is sourced and what ends up as waste. Responsible use of water can also help reduce the amount of energy we use at our events. When choosing a water supplier, consider factors such as the materials used and where the water is sourced. Sustainable suppliers such as Olinda Spring Water in Melbourne use recyclable bottles, biodegradable cups, and water sourced locally from no further than 40 km's from the Melbourne CBD. Indigenous-owned Waddi Springs similarly offers products made from renewable resources that are fully recyclable and degradable, with the option to buy spring water in an eco-friendly bag format. 



Waddi Springs natural spring water in a bag

Waddi Springs Natural Spring Water 


When developing a water management plan, below are a few tips to help reduce your water usage:


  1. Check you don’t have any leaking taps or appliances.

  2. Provide drinking fountains so people don’t need to buy bottled water.

  3. Choose water efficient appliances and fixtures. 

  4. Choose a hired toilet provider that is water efficient, waterless or uses ‘grey water’ and disposes of waste water correctly. 

  5. Make sure chemicals and oil are responsibly thrown away and not just poured down drains.

  6. Provide staff and attendees with reusable bottles for use across your event. 


Food & catering


On average, a 100-person event will waste 1/5th of its food. When choosing a catering partner for your event, consider following the tips below to reduce food waste and create a more sustainable event.


  1. Provide at least 50% vegetarian and vegan options, and where possible choose chicken instead of beef to cut down on carbon emissions. 

  2. Ask caterers to avoid single-use waste products or products with excessive packaging.

  3. Prioritise catering that uses fair trade, local, seasonal, carbon neutral and any other sustainable food options. 


In addition to these tips, consider partnering with a food waste organisation such as OZHarvest to save excess food from ending up in landfill by delivering it to charities in need. Below are a few sustainable and social enterprise catering companies you can reach out to for your next event. 



Waste management


Waste is a big part of any event and typically comes from building activity, promotional materials, and food and drinks. ​Organise your event to minimise the waste you create by thinking about what you buy and where it will go. By working with event partners, stall holders and contractors to minimise waste before, during and after your event, you can keep waste to a minimum. 


The below tips can help you reduce waste at your next event: 


  1. Provide recycling and organic waste collection bins.

  2. Avoid single use waste as much as possible.

  3. Purchase products with an environmental or social certification, such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), fair trade or carbon neutral. 

  4. Support hiring or leasing goods and services rather than buying. 

  5. Provide or sell reusable bottles or cups to your attendees for use across your event. 

  6. Ask caterers to avoid single-use waste products or products with excessive packaging.


Choosing a sustainable waste management provider can make this process easier and more effective. Clean Vibes is an event cleaning and waste management provider operating across Australia that focuses on sustainability. Clean Vibes can work with you to create a waste management plan for your event, provide separate bins for landfill waste, recycling and composting, and even provide a report that breaks down how much landfill waste was generated or diverted by your event so you can better plan for the future. 



Recycling, landfill and composting bins at an outdoor event hosted by Clean Vibes

Clean Vibes


Energy efficiency


Most of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels, which are a major contributor to global warming. Energy used to power events typically comes from electricity, gas, and generator diesel. By choosing sustainable energy suppliers and using renewable energy, you can minimise your event’s carbon footprint. 


Implement the following changes to reduce your event’s energy consumption:


  1. Switch off appliances when not in use.

  2. Set your venue’s thermostat to between 24 and 26 degrees for cooling in summer and between 18 and 20 degrees for heating in winter.

  3. Choose energy efficient appliances when purchasing or leasing new equipment.

  4. Use modern, fuel saving generators and monitor use to reduce running time.

  5. Run your event on renewables.


Choosing sustainable energy providers is another important step towards reducing your event’s energy consumption. Below are a few sustainable suppliers you can consider for your next event:




A solar powered generator in front of solar panels

Solar generator, Green Power Solutions


Travel


Travel to and from your event is an aspect that can often be overlooked when developing a sustainable event plan. Your attendees need to get to the event somehow, and they will often do so by driving or using a ridesharing service such as Uber. By following the tips below, you can encourage attendees to use public transport and other sustainable modes of transportation when attending your event.


  1. Provide information on walking and riding routes to your event and offer incentives to your attendees.

  2. Provide a shuttle service from public transport stops to your event.

  3. If you need to hire cars for the event, consider an electric fleet.

  4. Buy carbon​ offsets for travel. 

  5. Ensure there’s adequate infrastructure to support extra bikes in the area. If your event is at multiple venues, you could set up a bike share for attendees to get from A to B. 



Measurement and reporting


Measuring the environmental impact of your events can help you understand what the major issues are and take steps toward improvement. Quantifying your efforts and collating your data into a report also helps you tell the story about all the awesome things you are doing. Carbon calculation tools such as EventZero can also help with this process by calculating your event’s carbon footprint at every step of the planning process. 


You can access planning and reporting templates to help meet your sustainability goals through the City of Melbourne Sustainable Events Guide



Four VEE Agency employees and one dog

VEE Agency is committed to reducing our environmental impact and working with sustainable suppliers and partners when planning our events. Reach out to discuss your next project and how we can meet your sustainability goals!



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