Did you know that more than 4 pounds of waste and nearly 400 pounds of CO2 emissions are produced per day by the average conference attendee?
In today’s world, investor conferences, roadshows, advisor education seminars, forums, and investor meetings have returned to full force. We know how important an events strategy is to advance and execute financial business goals. A strong event strategy will combine many types of events, big or small.
For instance, financial roadshows are typically a regional series of events held quarterly to reach more attendees as the event travels to their location. Investor conferences, on the other hand, are large gatherings, bringing together businesses looking for funding and investors seeking evolving products and businesses. Both events are an opportunity to bring together multiple audiences for one-on-one meetings and in-person networking.
The good old-fashioned face-to-face event will never go out of style. It may incorporate a digital component to go hybrid, but it will remain a place to learn, network, discover impactful content, and engage in in-person experiences.
Attendees gather to assess business priorities, investigate the growing influence of digitalisation in the industry, explore the importance of financial education and guidance, analyse the future economic landscape, and consider the overall role of the industry and its impact on the world. Financial events give attendees valuable insights into business-critical issues on how to best meet the financial needs of customers.
But conferences and events also inherently impact communities and the environment around them. Carbon emissions from air, train, and road travel, plastic waste, food sourcing and production processes, and some forms of service delivery are produced by events.
Therefore, it has become crucial for financial organisations to acknowledge the carbon impact of their in-person events. From meeting spaces to attendee lodging, travel components to meal service, and event waste to digital content delivery, let’s look at 5 ways financial institutions organising in-person events can minimise their carbon footprint.
1. Mitigating Meeting Space and Lodging Worries – How Green Are Your Venues?
Everything starts with your venue. Finding a venue with proven sustainability credentials is key. It is important to estimate how much energy the event will demand, as 44% of a building’s energy consumption is usually attributed to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, and 28% to lighting equipment.
- Companies can enquire about carbon emissions per room per night before booking once they extend requests for proposals (RFPs) for hotel hiring.
- Additionally, they can switch to low-energy LED luminaires and use low-energy consuming equipment.
- When renting a venue, they can look for LEED-certified structures that are efficient, carbon-saving green buildings.
2. Travelling on a Tightrope – a Boon or a Bane
When planning in-person events, air travel is a top challenge. Research has revealed that aviation contributes to around 4% of human-induced global warming.
A recent survey by Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) reports that almost 74% of participants rated sustainability as at least a “moderate priority” for their company’s corporate travel programme. Companies can encourage carpooling, ridesharing, and public transport, potentially reducing carbon emissions from business travel.
Financial institutions can also align with their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals by:
- Prioritizing low-emission flights, for instance, by taking direct flights with low emission even when the lowest logical fare price suggests a connecting flight.
- Incorporating sustainability into trip approval processes.
- Encouraging the adoption of carbon offsets and sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) sourced from feedstocks like cooking oils and agricultural residues.
- Factoring in the additional costs of carbon pricing.
- Assigning carbon budgets to track emissions of frequent flyers.
3. Keeping Minutes of Meal Service – Are You Vocal for Local?
According to Lou Marrocco, President of Brandywine Events, educating all stakeholders and creating a climate of cooperation is vital for planning in-person events.
In the ever-changing post-pandemic climate, the compliance guidelines for food and beverage services keep changing and are largely specific to geography. With the focus shifting to touchless service, meal service protocols have been reworked. These include:
- Endorsing the use of bento boxes and touchless dispensing units. Such models of service delivery have come to replace salad bars and buffets.
- Practicing recommended codes of behaviour like the use of QR codes to access menu cards.
- Upholding mandated practices of physical distancing (if required).
- Serving meals crafted with locally sourced ingredients. They pack healthy nutrients and can be served to support the native community.
- Using plastic containers and cutlery only if they are highly recyclable.
- Reducing the event’s impact by using bio-degradable cups and plates that won’t go to a landfill.
- Avoiding the use of single-use plastic water bottles and paper napkins to boost your sustainability index.
4. Handling Event Waste Management – Thinking Outside the Trash Box
Event planners and executors need to coordinate their waste disposal efforts to avoid diversion to landfills.
As Andrew Carne, Workplace Procurement Manager, BP observes, ‘quick wins’ matter as they add up to ‘sizable gains’. It is quite possible to convert corporate policies into mandates and actions in travel and meeting programmes.
For instance, materials such as plastic, glass, aluminium, and food can be reused, recycled, or composted as much as possible. Companies can enforce an effective waste management plan by:
- Accurately forecasting the quantity of material required for their events.
- Bringing in recycling bins on-site to separate waste items appropriately. This will allow an organised classification of waste to kick-start the recycling process.
- Mapping out the typical flow of attendees to identify the logical locations for waste receptacles.
- Investing in appropriate signage and directions to ensure that people have easy access to waste disposal facilities.
- Switching to eco-friendly products like bamboo compostable dinnerware and similar items.
5. Driving Digital Transformation – Virtual, In-Person, and Hybrid
The complete ecosystem of financial advisors, investors, internal stakeholders, and industry experts needs end-to-end digital security. Data privacy and security remain top priorities for financial institutions. Data must be encrypted in transit and secure to prevent unauthorised access.
Adopting digital technology innovations can be a daunting task for organisers handling fintech events. Ensuring security and regulatory compliance is a matter of utmost importance.
Financial institutions, therefore, need a trusted technology provider that is configurable with their tech stacks and scalable to support all event models – virtual, in-person, and hybrid.
From templated events to two-factor authentication and data encryption – baking digital security into financial programme models has become critical to event success.
Banking on Sustainability for Financial Events
Every event is unique. Financial sub-industries like banking, insurance, asset management, and capital markets arrange events year-round on various scales.
Big or small, quarterly, or annual - it could be a single conference, a series of gatherings, or an entire event programme - cost avoidance is a critical consideration for all of them.
Being data-driven and technologically empowered, such enterprises can easily visualise their discretionary spending on sustainability initiatives.
With only 29% of organisations tracking carbon emissions from all components of business travel, it is still fairly outside the norm and easy to capture. On the other hand, ESG goals have become linear for global financial firms and banks. They align with the best practices of the Net Zero programme to chart the road map ahead.
To help ensure success, financial organisations should look to an all-in-one event management and marketing platform that can help them plan virtual, hybrid, and in-person events by:
- Sourcing venues and vendors that meet organisation standards
- Providing space diagramming tools to reduce onsite visits and unnecessary travel
- Gaining visibility across your global meetings & events programme to gather actionable insights in real-time
- Deploying industry-leading data privacy and security practices for financial industry experts
Ready to get your event sustainability strategy off the ground? See how Cvent’s event management platform can help you track your sustainability efforts.