November 9, 2022

15 ideas to run a small footprint event!

It’s not so hard to ensure your events are sustainable, it just takes a little forward planning and a couple of killer colleagues to work with. Go all out and up the ante!


Idea #13. Offer water jugs and glasses rather than plastic bottles.


– 15 ideas to help you run a small footprint event –


  1. Put someone in charge to ensure the small footprint theme is consistent and promote it as such.
  2. Produce an environmental policy for future conferences and meetings.
  3. Offer attendees the option of purchasing a tree when they register (we can help out here).
  4. Advise speakers about your small footprint event and ask them to consistently keep participants informed.
  5. Don’t laminate! As creative as all hell, but do you really need your signs to outlast us all?
  6. Promote businesses that have green policies. Ask companies (e.g. the venue) for their sustainable policies and if they don’t have any, take your business elsewhere.  This is a powerful way to encourage businesses to ‘step up’.
  7. Make it a ‘paper free’ event, or at the very least use double sided pages and recycled paper (best brands include Evolve, Vision and Fuji). Avoid Reflex, they are still using our native forests for their pulp supplies. Take the ‘ethical paper pledge‘ to help protect our native forests.
  8. Encourage public transport by offering prizes, discounts, free glass of wine etc when they present their train/bus ticket. Give instructions as to which tram, bus or train to take on the invite and registration page.
  9. Give promotional sustainable gifts that are made from local producers (with little/no packaging).
  10. Distribute a low ecological impact lanyard. Use regular thread with a knot/bead linking both extremes.
  11. Encourage recycling with simple bin systems.
  12. Offer only vegetarian meals. It won’t kill anyone to go without meat for a day or so.
  13. Don’t offer plastic water bottles. Have glasses and water jugs on hand. Ask the venue to adhere to this.
  14. If you must use plastic name tags, collect them at the end of the conference to reuse the next year.
  15. Ditch the straw. Again ask the venue to adhere (loving that word).


Idea #8. Encourage attendees to travel via public transport to the venue.


Fifteen Trees can help make your event just that little greener by organising the planting of one tree for each attendee at a cost of $6.30/tree (includes GST).  The trees will be planted by community groups (such as schools and Landcare). Once planted (in the wetter months of the year) you will be able to see photos of the trees and read the comments by the community groups who have planted them. You are then able to use these images on your website to promote your green policies.


Purchase your trees for an event here.


We’d love to know how you go! Did you hit any snags and if so, how did you work around them? Let me know via <[email protected]> so I can update this article with your suggestions.


Writer; Colleen Filippa

With a background in Environmental Science, Colleen is the Founding Director of Fifteen Trees. In 2009, after 20 years in primary, secondary and tertiary education institutions, Colleen left the classroom to start the company. Fifteen Trees is a social enterprise assisting individuals and companies to reduce their carbon footprint by supporting community groups such as Landcare, schools and environmental networks.




Nature’s time capsules.
Winter. A Season for Radical Rest.
Tree Planting Season.