BMA House’s Rebecca Hurley offers her advice and thoughts on how to make your Christmas do at the perfect corporate event venue that bit more green than white.
Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year. It is an opportunity to gather, share joy and celebrate. Whether this is with family and friends or colleagues and even strangers who just happen to be in the same corporate event venue, the festive period includes a multitude of opportunities to attend events and is a vital event to thank staff for all their hard work over the year.
It all sounds fantastic doesn’t it – who wouldn’t want to attend? We must however remember that all this fun and laughter comes at a cost. The obvious costs are financial (particularly for those boozy affairs), after all someone needs to pick up the bill at the end of the night. However, all too often the environment also has a bill to pay when the bar shuts and everyone goes home. In our understandable focus on the fun, laughter and Christmas spirit we forget that it is all too easy for our festive partying to impact not just our corporate event venue, but the world around us.
So, what can we do to ensure our partying isn’t done at the detriment to the planet? At BMA House this year we are dreaming of a Green Christmas that ensures every aspect of festive events are as kind to the planet as possible, whilst ensuring the event is exceptional.
With this in mind, here are five tips to consider:
- Consider first how you and your guests will get to the event, what are the public transport links like, is it possible to walk perhaps? Admittedly on a dark and cold winter’s night in party clothes the idea of walking isn’t always that appealing but it can be an option if local or onsite accommodation is used.
Realistically to ensure sustainability, transport should be considered right from the outset when booking the venue. Ask yourself where the guests will be coming from and is it accessible to them? If “in town” how close is it to bus, train and other infrastructure stops? If further afield, can you book private busses or local rail tickets? Ultimately, the way we get to or from any event is one of the biggest environmental factors and needs to be considered from the very beginning.
- It is all too easy to become focused on the concept of “single use plastics” but remember that anything “single-use” does have questionable ramifications for the environment. Just one example is wrapping paper – even if you choose a recycled option, it ultimately still uses various natural resources. I am not suggesting you don’t wrap anything, but I would suggest you consider all the different elements of your Christmas party and establish whether they truly add value if they are single use. One of the best examples here are Christmas Crackers – are they really worth all the packaging, content and materials for a quick bang and a dodgy hat that is only going to be worn by 20% of the guests for 20% of the party?
- In addition to single use – also think about what can be made multi-use. Décor and theming is a key consideration here. Does it truly add value to create bespoke theming, costing both money and resources for one event on one night? I am sure many of the guests will be delighted by the creativity of your ideas and how they are realised through decorations, trees and plants, fake snow, staging, props, lighting and sound.
It is far better for the environment to work with your venue and suppliers to ensure the theming is multi-use. Perhaps the venue has a seasonal theme, perhaps the production company will use the décor elsewhere. Whatever option you choose, there is no excuse to chop down 20 trees for just one night – nor is there a reason to buy 20 fake plastic trees for them never to be used again.
- Numbers matter – so make them count. One of the biggest areas of waste and environmental impact at an event is food waste. A simple way to minimise this is catering numbers. Talk to the venue about minimum numbers, be realistic about how many will attend and ensure you stay on top of your registrations. You might hope to have 300 people attend, but if you only have 200 registered on the morning of the event there is no point the venue catering for the additional 100 people who won’t show up.
- Menu choice and event style can also be an ideal way to manage and minimise food waste. A sit down three course meal for a fixed amount of people generates different levels of waste to a buffet with five choices, which in turn creates different levels of waste to a buffet with one choice. Your venue will know the best way for its catering team to decrease waste so seek their advice – and if there are left-overs, you might find creative uses such at the various chutneys produced by our caterers here at BMA House from unused vegetables etc.
There are so many ways to ensure your Christmas event is not just a success but also a sustainable success – you could even go meat free! Whatever your choices and ideas though, make sure you communicate them with your corporate event venue and caterers right from the start as they are best placed to turn your Christmas wishes into Christmas reality. One way you can get your eco-Christmas rolling is to choose our ‘Greenest Christmas Dinner’ package where you’ll expect plant-based bubbles on arrival, a festive two-course set menu with hand selected dishes to reduce your carbon footprint, vegan wine, sustainable centre pieces, LED uplighters and much more!
Want to talk more about placing sustainability at the heart of your event? Get in touch today.