Carbon-Neutral Events

Huge events like sporting events or concerts are a massive greenhouse gas source which impacts the environment in a negative way, but these events really don’t have to have such a nasty effect on the world we live in. If you are organizing a large event try and think about applying some green principles to reduce the carbon footprint on the planet.

As an event organizer you could look into more greener options of venues. Some benefits from publicly showing your support on the environment could motivate others to change their own lives or maybe just get appreciation for helping the environment.

Pretty much every element of the event can be changed to be eco-friendly. Planning is a huge, important part to ensure things go well, so make sure everyone who is planning the event knows the details, or even the generic idea that the event will be more carbon-neutral and get their buy in right from the start. Ideas will come from letting people know you want to be carbon neutral, and as you set the standard for eco-friendly principles others will soon be on board.

Another great way is to define the carbon footprint of the event by identifying all sources of event-related greenhouse gas emissions. Major emissions sources will likely include travel to the host city, local road transportation, energy consumed by the event venue and energy used through stays at local hotels. Smaller emission sources include transportation of goods the event needs, event organizer travel during planning and preparation, energy consumed by the event office, paper use and waste generation.

The most important, is making an action plan, and actually sticking to it, once the ways of where the emissions are coming from have been outlined ways to reduce the gasses can then be decided. Reach out for help, and do not be afraid to ask everyone what they can do to make your event more earth friendly – from suppliers to attendees.

Destination Selection

Try choosing a destination city that is close to the majority of the participants and is served by direct flights. Multiple take-offs and landings results in higher emissions from air travel so try pick a destination city with a good public transport system that could encourage participants to use public transport.

Venue Selection and Service Provision

If possible, choose a venue that is LEED certified, or one that employs energy- and water-efficient equipment and practices, and schedules heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) resources around meeting requirements.

Request organic, locally produced food and beverages to cut transportation emissions.

Eliminate disposable containers, plates, bowls, cups and cutlery.

Set up a compost program for all food waste.


Provide guests with information about accommodations with environmental certification or with environmental policies and practices.

Negotiate room blocks with hotels that are within walking distance of the event venue and/or have green policies.

Ask guests to participate in linen reuse programs at their hotels. Ask them to shut off lights, televisions and air conditioners or heaters when they leave their rooms.


Offer guests the choice to attend the event via videoconferencing.

Alternatively, provide free passes for public transit.


Use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper, processed chlorine free and made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled content. Producing a tonne of recycled paper results in 80 percent fewer CO2 emissions.

Use printers and photocopiers that are Energy Star certified.

There are many ways to help an event be more eco-friendly if you sit down and think before you plan. Always try and advocate green principles, encouraging the participants to help the event leave less of a carbon footprint, this may also encourage participants to become more eco-friendly in their own lives when they return home.

Like what we’re doing? Want to share your story or tell others? Do you have a green business in Calgary and want to get in front of a large local audience? Let’s build a green community together!