Tools and Guidelines for Sustainable Events

Certificates, labels, and useful guidelines for staging events with a big impact and a small carbon footprint.

Tap water not plastic bottles, trams not taxis, digital program booklets not paper printouts. Every little thing counts when organizing sustainable events. However, before getting bogged down in all the details, it can be useful already from an early stage to follow established guidelines for organizing sustainable events. Below we outline the most important and helpful approaches for keeping people, the planet, and profits happy before, during, and after the event.

Whatever sustainability approach you choose, the Zurich Tourism Convention Bureau would be pleased to assist you throughout the process.

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1. The Right Destination

The choice of destination can already lay the foundation. Do the majority of participants only have to travel a short distance to get to the destination? What social and ecological commitment do the local municipal authorities and service providers show?

The Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS) monitors the sustainability performance of pioneering cities based on more than 36 different criteria. Zurich Tourism is proud to have been listed among the Top Ten most sustainable destinations since 2017.

 

2. A Suitable Location

Public transportation connections, energy-saving measures, climate-friendly catering – many individual criteria determine the overall sustainability of an event location. Zurich Tourism’s Venue Finder filters locations with a sustainability certificate, thus making your search easier.

Did you know that 97% of hotels in Zurich can be reached from the main convention and exhibition centers within half an hour using public transportation?

 

3. Guidelines for Event Planning

Getting Off to an Easy Start

Positive Impact Events offers numerous practical learning materials, webinars, and checklists to help you do your bit towards achieving the international Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and much more.

The global event agency, MCI, has compiled an additional useful checklist, which can be downloaded here (PDF).

Here you can find the ETH Zurich Online-Tool for sustainable events.

Cultural and sports events: you can find over 50 recommendations for increased sustainability here. (available in German and French)

For Even Greater Credibility

Management systems such as ISO 20121 provide guidelines and best business practices to help plan events and monitor economic, environmental, and social impacts. This standard has been developed with the support of the event industry in order to make it as practical and useful as possible. It covers all stages of the event supply chain and comprises monitoring and measurement guidelines.

For Large-Scale Events with a Long-Lasting Impact

The guide, “Nachhaltigkeit, Innovation und Vermächtnis von Grossveranstaltungen (NIV)“ (Sustainability, innovation and legacy of major events (NIV)), published by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, is suitable for all major events in the fields of sport, culture, and business, as well as for national exhibitions, and is aimed at event planners, host regions, and umbrella organizations. The objective is to already use the event beforehand as a platform to initiate ideas, processes, and projects that will lead to it leaving a positive and lasting legacy. (available in German)