10 Tips for Hosting a Sustainable Event
Plan an event that feels good and does good
At Crystalbrook Collection, we love our planet and we’re passionate about sustainability, or what we call Responsible Luxury. This ethos extends to Meet Mindfully, where we are always looking for new ways to be eco-progressive. Let’s remove the stressors of conventional corporate meetings and create meaningful meetings of significance, purpose and value.
Our goal is to provide you and each of your attendees with spaces, environments and a culture that is eco-progressive, Mindfully Safe and heroes the local environment while also being refreshing, empowering and invigorating. It provides our delegates with a cleaner, slower and more conscious way to travel (and event).
Here’s a few nifty tips to get you started on planning your sustainable event:
1. Keep distance and transport in mind
80% of an event’s carbon dioxide emissions are often travel related. Yikes. Ideally you want to keep your venue in the same city or, at the very least, same country. If delegates are flying into the venue, event planners should work with venues that can provide more eco-conscious methods of transport onsite. You’ll also want to consider a venue that has on-site or nearby accommodation to avoid unnecessary commuting. Crystalbrook Byron provides a fleet of complimentary and comfortable Lekka Bicycles, two resort shuttles into Byron Bay three times daily, electric buggies and even has two electric vehicle charging stations and access to an e-bike rental service.
Eco-transport at Crystalbrook Byron
2. Work with a sustainable venue and book sustainable accommodation
Your delegates sustainable journey begins the minute they check-in. At Crystalbrook Byron they’ll be handed a 100% recycled bamboo disk (that’s the room key) for their suite, or take it one step further and use the Crystalbrook app for mobile check-in. We’re also proud to be the first hotel group to offer 100% waste-free bathroom amenities. Through an industry-leading partnership with the world’s leading luxury hotel amenities provider Vanity Group, Crystalbrook has redefined sustainable luxury in Australia and all our bathroom products are either recyclable or biodegradable, including a toothbrush and comb made from sugarcane and corn starch.
3. Skip the plastics and the paper
From brochures and posters to agendas and worksheets, a lot of paper is used when planning and executing events. By avoiding these and going with digital and more eco-friendly alternatives, you can cut down on cost, reduce waste at the event, and save a few hundred trees. At Crystalbrook we dial up our tech to cut down on paper; with in-room iPads we’ve removed around 90% of the paper found in a typical five-star hotel room. Of course, you’ll still find a very cute notebook in your room to jot down ideas (or journal – very Byron Bay) after a busy day of conferencing. These notebooks are made from Forest Stewardship Council paper stock only. You can also say good-bye to pesky, plastic wrapped (outdated) mints and hello to eco-friendly snacks and glass bottles of water in each conference and event room.
Crystalbrook water bottles
4. Consider food waste
In Australia, over 5 million tonnes of food end up in landfill. At Crystalbrook Byron, we’re doing our bit to grow, consume and compost with our seven resort Subpods®. The Subpod® in-garden compost system that works with nature, using worms and microbes to compost organic waste without the odours, vermin, mess and hard work of traditional composting. Food waste from the resort’s kitchen (that services Forest, Blue Pool Bar and Verandah and our conference facilities) goes directly into our Subpods®. By using Subpods® for composting we can divert up to 90 kilograms per week of waste from landfills! The micro-world beneath our feet is the secret to all healthy life on our planet.
Subpods at Crystalbrook Byron
5. Go beyond the menu
When planning a sustainable event menu, think beyond the usual options of going meat-free or focusing on seasonal produce (all should be a given) and consider whether the food is:
Locally sourced - within a three-hour radius of the event venue
Minimises waste - the chef has used all of the ingredient to reduce any waste
Features ethical meats – using the whole beast, line caught fish or sustainably farmed
Supplied to the event venue in eco-friendly packaging –100% recycled or bio-packaging
Culturally considered – using native ingredients and working with indigenous communities
Crystalbrook takes the guess work out of creating a delicious (and sustainable) event menu with Climate Calories. Through Climate Calories, icons alongside each dish on the menu, delegates will immediately be able to see whether the ingredients in their dish are locally sourced, sustainably grown or caught, have an indigenous connection, consciously reduce waste and were delivered to the restaurant in eco-friendly packaging.
Crystalbrook Climate Calories
6. Give away eco-friendly swag
Plastic pens, chocolates and cookies in plastic bags, a plastic water bottle with a logo, an ugly branded notebook or lanyard that will never be used – every delegate knows how it feels to receive a bunch of swag that they will never use. Good swag can give you some visibility and brand awareness while also bringing attendees a lot of joy and highlighting your sustainability measures. You can usually find an eco-friendly option for most promo items. For example, Sprout World creates branded pencils that delegates can plant. Planet Earth Promos offers a range of sustainable promo items. Imagine gifting all your delegates a seed-kit? It’s also worth looking into local charities and initiatives. The Reef Restoration Foundation’s Coral Crusaders have been growing corals on coral tree frames in Australia’s first ocean-based nursery. Become a coral crusader by adopting a coral cutting or even an entire tree on behalf of your event delegates.
Another example is Crystalbrook Byron’s Flow Hive program. The resort is home four thriving honeybee colonies each housed within their own Flow Hive. The bees will forage up to 20sqkm and visit more than one million flowers for every half kilo of honey produced. The installation and maintenance of bee apiaries help the environment by providing bees with a home to pollinate the surrounding gardens and native plants. Connect delegates to the program with bee-friendly seed kits or little jars of honey as a keepsake.
Flow Hives at Crystalbrook Byron
7. Get Messy for a Mission
A simple and easy way to lighten your delegates footprint is to encourage them to opt-out of their scheduled daily room clean. At Crystalbrook Byron (and all Crystalbrook properties), for each night you choose not to have your room serviced, you’ll enjoy a food and beverage credit. It’s our way of saying ‘thanks’ for travelling with a lighter footprint. We call it Messy for a Mission. Because the little things make a big difference.
A suite at Crystalbrook Byron
8. Partner with the local community
Give back to the local community by using local services, suppliers, and vendors. At Crystalbrook we know our neighbours (and their quirks) and would love to introduce you. We unearth the best of every destination, in ways that add value and meaning to event organisers and attendees. For example, at Crystalbrook Byron we recommend all events start with a Welcome to Country and smoke ceremony. Arranging a Welcome to Country demonstrates respect for Arakwal Bumberbin people as the First Peoples in the Byron Shire. We can help you take it one step further and arrange for Delta Kay, a local Arakwal Bundjalung woman to take your delegates on a guided tour of resort’s 45-acres of natural rainforest followed by a bush tucker tasting.
Delta Kay. Image credit: Kiff & Culture
9. Implement a “power-down” plan
Regardless of how tech-heavy your event is or isn’t, we can all agree that time away from our screens and technology is essential. Adding a power-down period into your itinerary will allow your delegates the freedom to consciously connect as a group and also help to limit your emissions and carbon footprint. Crystalbrook has partnered with The Indigo Project to provide all meeting attendees with free-of-charge meditation and mindfulness tools for a clear mind and productive meetings. Use your power-down plan to tap into the toolkit with meditations, body scans or even a ‘5 Day Choose Yourself Challenge’. These tools are accessible to be used in a group environment or individually.
Yoga at Crystalbrook Byron
10. Track your progress
You’ve worked hard to create an event that’s healthy for your delegates and healthy for the earth. Make sure you’re keeping track of your progress and reporting on the impact of your sustainability initiatives. By creating a sustainable baseline, you’ll be able to improve with every future event and work with your partners and suppliers to drive these improvements.
Here’s how else we can help you Meet Mindfully and plan your Byron Bay event:
- Clay Therapy – make an incense holder or shell plate with Muddy Clay Play
- Forest Bathing in our 45-aces of sub-tropical rainforest
- Yoga and sound healing on the lawn
- Stargazing in the lotus garden
- Energy cleansing of the meeting room
Local hero activities
- Gin distillery and rainforest tour at Cape Byron Distillery
- Private surf lessons
- Pilates and Prosecco with Peaches Pilates
- Whale watching in winter
- Private kayak tour followed by coffee and pastries on the beach
Responsible Luxury activities:
- Volunteer with Brunswick Valley Landcare
- Visit The Farm to learn about sustainability practices
- Rainforest tour with Delta followed by a bush tucker tasting on-site
- Smoke ceremony + fire twirlers + Welcome to Country
- Beach Clean (we will provide the kit via Clean Up Day Australia)
- Rainforest Scavenger Hunt