Make your events fun and sustainable

Youngsters, adults and elderly people living in Antwerp always have the possibility to organize events in this bustling city. Organizing an event mostly seems like a lot of fun but unfortunately, it also requires a lot of logistics and the buying and purchasing of materials. The key question here is whether this is being done in a sustainable way. As you might know, the city of Antwerp is a city that likes to engage and commit to sustainability in order to pursue a more sustainable way of living.

In terms of events, a manual was created, available for everybody, as an aid of organizing an event in a (more) sustainable way. It gives clear guidelines and tips that can be applied. However, the manual is written in Dutch. . Because our blog has a lot of international readers and because we are from Antwerp Management School ourselves, we took the task upon ourselves to present you with the key take-aways.

Enjoy reading, and remember: A fun event can definitely be sustainable.

Determine the location very well. Is there sufficient public transport in the neighbourhood? How accessible is the location? Is there enough spare room for bikes? And what about the neighbours. Can there be a risk of noise pollution?

Sign an environmental charter with the exhibitors. Investigate and question the different exhibitors about how sustainable they are and what actions they undertake. Possibly make them sign a charter were you put in goals that the suppliers have to adhere to. That way, there is a much higher chance that they will stick to the charter.

Energy sources
Ask for green mains current because it is generated more efficiently than electricity coming from an aggregate (generator). That way they lead to less CO2 emissions. Another advantage of mains current is that it prevents noise pollution coming from the aggregate and that it does not create fine dust. Because of that, mains current will benefit the festival site (or the event site) in terms of the environment. So choose, if possible, as much for green means current because the environmental impact is minimal (Barst, 2008).

It is also important to protect soil and green. This can be done by not parking cars in the grass but providing actual parking space. A lot of events and festivals take place on a meadow. Often, a lot of garbage gets thrown on the grass, which makes the whole meadow look filthy and unclean, even if there are trashcans available. Also, not everything gets cleaned up afterwards. Try to avoid as much non-degradable gadgets, cups and other products and limit the amount of plastic and try to find a space that is easy to clean up on.

Perhaps appoint a person, responsible for the correct sorting of the waste. Too often, people do not sort right or just throw their waste in the first trashcan they see. This sets a bad example for other visitors. Furthermore it is important to limit the amount of packaging and plastic since it decreases the costs of trash for you, the organizer and also has a more positive impact on the environment.

Serve appetizer in edible packaging like lettuce, chicory, dough or on toast. That way, you are not only thinking about the environment, but you are also putting out a unique concept. If edible packaging is not possible, try finding biodegradable ones. Also Fairtrade products and biological products can be provided. The biological stores available in Belgium can be consulted on the site.

An event or a festival brings a lot of people together and can be an ideal way of informing people about certain things. Raising awareness is very important and can certainly be done. At an event or a party, people tend to be more loose and feel more free. They pay less attention to the rules or to guidelines, also in terms of garbage disposal. Awareness campaigns can be set out, or incentives can be offered to make people act in a desired way, for instance, to make them recycle or not throw their garbage on the ground.

After providing you with all these tips and tricks, we will inform you about a special award and a helpful tool, related to sustainable events.

The Green Guy Award of OVAM
The Green Guy (De Groene Vent in Dutch) has been skimming festivals, public events, markets and parties since 2010, to help them with making their event more sustainable. Based on his experience, a Green Guy scan has been developed, which is an online tool that helps the organizer to make his event more durable . The scan itself, tips and other information can be found on the site.

Also every year, the Green Guy Award gets awarded to the most sustainable events of that year. In 2018, only events that used reusable cups were in the running of the main prize. More information can be found on  the website.

We hope this article provided you with some useful tips and information and we hope to see you soon at an event or festival!

By Henri Desmet & Barbara Allaert (


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