With increasing technology and mostly everything going digital, it’s lovely sometimes when someone sends you a card or a beautiful invitation to an event. But there’s also many opportunities to save paper and the environment.
For events, we think carefully about printed matter. For corporate events, often making text and information digital as much as possible makes complete sense. It can be much more efficient and with increasing numbers of excellent apps geared to the industry, there’s really no excuse for not making the effort to find a way of communicating digitally – both leading up to the event and during the event itself. The default position in the past was handouts. Large programmes of events, corporate identity packages, leaflets, brochures, postcards, business cards, conference journals, presentation folders…and much more.
As with any change there is resistance and there are some event planners who still base their corporate planning around printouts. And it will take time to make the shift. But we need to push in the direction of cutting out unneeded prints. Unless you’re prepared to use 100% recycled and ethically sourced printing materials and keep everything as local as possible, then it’s best to get with the tech. Anyway, you have more flexibility to get more across and in a clearer fashion. And errors or last minute changes won’t require another huge print run also.
Some event planners say that their clients prefer to keep things the same and they don’t want to lose their loyal customers. Large numbers of printouts have worked in the past so let’s not change things that aren’t broken. We think that they just need to be guided towards the potential of using technology in a more effective way. When you can show them what it saves them and how it benefits their company and event, they’re unlikely to argue with you. We think that the tech should sometimes be more clearly and easily demonstrable than it sometimes is, but of course as competition increases, the best companies are already designing apps and software that is more simple to use, the benefits of which are undeniable. And of course the more it is used, the more it will be improved upon and so the more it will be used – a positive cycle which reduces unnecessary printing.
What about private events – weddings, parties etc? Well technology can also be used and in a fun way. But our philosophy is that if you really want printed name cards and invitations then do seriously consider where you source the printed material from.
Companies that use soy and vegetable-based inks are helping the environment. These materials are easier to recycle and turning away from petroleum-based ink is great since it’s made from oil, which is obviously non-renewable. As well as using only recycled paper and cutting down on waste in other ways, these are the companies that deserve the support of the event industry. If clients cannot afford full services here for printing, there is a middle way of using partly technology and then keeping printed materials to an absolute minimum. This has the added bonus of making a corporate event more sustainable and that then becomes something that can be part of the event marketing. This is not a reason alone to make an event more efficient and eco-aware, but it is a definite benefit to the company – when doing the right thing, it’s fine to show off about it and spread the good word. The more this happens, the more pressure there is on other events to do the same. It’s all about small changes which eventually lead to big change.
So think before you print. Consider whether there an alternative? And if it really needs to be printed, then try and do so in the most ethical and sustainable way. Both efforts will make a big difference to the event industry in terms of how much paper is used.
Get in touch with us today if you want to put on an amazing event whilst cutting any unnecessary waste. We’d love to work with you!