Within the last few months, the topic of sustainability in general has become even more important than ever before. The war in Ukraine, the rise in the inflation rate and the associated increases in food and fossil fuel prices are even more thought-provoking and also pose great challenges for event planners. The topic of sustainability has been buzzing in our heads for years and we are also planning more and more frequently with the idea that events do little “damage” to the future. Today we would like to introduce you to an event that has taken up this topic in an excellent way and how it was implemented.
It all started with the idea of an employee incentive in the Allgäu. It had to be outdoors, it had to be fun, it had to be a reward for the team, it had to bring the team together and it had to be “something different”. And what suits the Allgäu better than hiking, cycling and discovering nature, getting to know and appreciate it and having a lot of fun in the process!
The idea and implementation of the Outdoor Campus
In cooperation with the outdoor company Faszinatour, the concept for an outdoor campus in nature was developed. Here, employees should be able to move freely, visit various hands-on stations and “get active in the fresh air”. And all of this with sustainability, the environment and the goal of creating awareness for sustainability in mind.
Together with the client and Faszinatour, we fine-tuned the concept. In order to sharpen the employees’ awareness of sustainability and at the same time bring a lot of fun and action into the event, there were seven different activities in which they could participate. Among others, there was a very interesting and informative herb hike – just learn what the forest and nature can offer us. In addition, there was an e-bike tour (the electricity for the batteries comes from green energy – this was explicitly taken care of), a screwing station for bird boxes, an upcycling station under the motto ‘make something new from old’, a paddling tour with the aim of removing rubbish from bushes and gravel banks. Of course, the action must not be neglected, so the participants had to go down the rapids of the Iller.
Under the motto ‘do good’, the participants built a tree bench (materials regional, untreated) for the playground of a school, which should offer the pupils the possibility to sit in the shade of a tree.
Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to a nice idea during the ongoing planning due to limited time, but we don’t want to leave it unmentioned here: Planting a wild hedge, as a dust/dirt/exhaust filter and especially as a habitat for numerous animals.
All participants took away new impulses, a lot of fun in doing things together, and great experiences in the team. And this despite the unexpected cold and some rain showers. Thanks to the good mood, we managed to lure the sun out from behind the clouds 😊.
Where is the sustainability now?
Our client and we as Atlantik Network were able to learn a lot during the planning of the event. Among other things, that sustainability is not always as easy to implement as one imagines and wishes when planning. Adjustments are necessary, even in ongoing processes.
The idea of sustainable travel by carpool, train and collective bus was suggested by the client and we were happy to support it. Despite the various options, including the possibility of employee networking, when specifying “travel with car pool”, a fundamentally sustainable and climate-friendly journey is not always feasible. Why? From our point of view, guests at (company) events are reluctant to give up the comfort they are used to. This also applies to the journey to the event: Those who have their own car would rather be flexible and independent themselves than be “tied down” to other people.
The use of a collective bus from the company site is also a good approach, but has not yet been used as intensively as planned. We have learned that it needs to be more compulsory than just encouraging if you want to push a more sustainable journey.
The guests at the event were very satisfied with the use of the DB event ticket. Reasonable travel price and also the travel time were fine. This option should definitely be included more often in your travel planning for events.
2. On-site activities
At the Outdoor Campus mentioned above, our client’s employees were able to make some sustainable products that can be used in the future – both privately and by organisations such as Bund Naturschutz or a school.
What was made?
At the upcycling station, the staff could make various useful items for their homes from old materials, e.g. old skis, bottles, Playmobil figures, etc. The results were really great and creative, e.g. wardrobes, lampshades, decorations. The results were really great and creative, e.g. wardrobes, lampshades, decorations. Sustainable and trendy!
The staff also assembled a tree bench for a school. This was donated to a school and offers the pupils a place to sit in the shade of a tree in the playground.
And last but not least, 20 nesting boxes were screwed together and beautifully decorated by the participants on the grounds of the Outdoor Campus. These nesting boxes were then handed over to the Bund Naturschutz and hung up in the right places so that the respective bird species can nest there.
What can we take away from this?
Yes, sustainability is a difficult issue when organising events and it is not always 100% feasible. Nevertheless, in organising this event we saw and also learned that you can make a difference even with small means and the will to incorporate a little sustainability. Moreover, you take the idea home with you: just pick up the paper lying on the street and throw it into the nearest waste bin or don’t dispose of old objects directly – maybe you can find another use for them that gives the “old thing” another useful task.
We were able to see the idea of a more sustainable event organisation and the possibilities of implementation once again in the planning of this event and are happy if we can incorporate the learnings and experiences gained in the planning of our events in the future.
Of course, there are many more ways to make an event more sustainable. In any case, every step towards sustainability at events is a good start and gives us all the right impetus to continue and integrate sustainability into events and planning.
We can say: sustainability is not something boring or unattractive – sustainability can also be exciting and creative!
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