ICLEI European Secretariat

ICLEI European Secretariat


Sustainable Events

A sustainable event is one designed, organised and implemented in a way that minimises potential negative impacts and leaves a beneficial legacy for the host community and all involved.

Taken from Sustainable Events Guide, based on principles of ICLEI’s Greening Events symposium in Barcelona, 2004

ICLEI has great experience in organising sustainable events, and has long been aware of the valuable opportunities they offer in terms of awareness-raising, as a platform for learning and creating a new culture of caring for the environment, as well as the inherent social and financial rewards.

Many ICLEI organised sustainable events are at European level. Whilst some are one-time specialty focused events, others are part of a series (list available here).

These events focus on sustainability topics, and are used to promote and implement new event management approaches and standards to reduce both environmental and social damage.

What are the benefits of a sustainable event?

Participants, service providers and the host/local region can benefit in a number of ways:

  • Costs savings - through energy efficiency, waste reduction, consumption of local products.

  • Positive reputation - demonstration of your organisation’s commitment to sustainability principles, improving your image and international competitiveness.

  • Environmental innovation – promotion of innovative technologies/techniques can help you use resources more efficiently.

  • Awareness-raising - among participants, staff, service providers and the local community, encouraging people to make responsible decisions.

  • Social benefits - providing jobs, benefiting regional suppliers, promoting better working conditions, and potentially acting as a catalyst to encourage environmental best practice across the region.

  • Influencing decision-making – inspire change by engaging stakeholders, sharing standards and introducing new ways of behaviour.

  • Spreading best practice within the organisation - many of the measures and management practices can also be applied to the day-to-day operations of your organisation.

What can ICLEI do to improve my event's sustainability?

Following ICLEI's step by step guidance in developing and organising your event - from the selection of the venue, catering, and accommodation, to the management of your own resources and the offsetting of CO2 emissions - will markedly improve the event's sustainability.

ICLEI will help reduce:

  • Energy use and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions

  • Materials consumption and waste generation

  • Water use

  • Indirect environmental impacts to air, water and soil

ICLEI will help increase:

  • Social benefits to all stakeholders

  • The level of awareness among participants

  • Savings and long term earnings

  • Efficiency of your resources management