How Attending Environmentally-Focused Events Can Inspire Sustainable Event Planning

April 16, 2024

Mike Szczesny

Mike Szczesny is the owner and vice president of EDCO Awards & Specialties, a dedicated supplier of employee recognition products such as crystal awards, branded merchandise and athletic awards. Szczesny takes pride in EDCO’s ability to help companies go the extra mile in expressing gratitude and appreciation to their employees.

As we all navigate the shifting scientific studies, expectations and regulations around business and sustainability, environmentally-focused events stand out as lighthouses of innovation and green practices. 

What are environmentally-focused events? These are trade shows, exhibitions and conferences that aren’t just events. They’re opportunities. They’re your chance to dive into the world of sustainable events to learn, connect and come away inspired. Let’s walk through the highlights of these events and discover how you can bring their insights into your work. 

1. Discover Renewable Energy Showcases

Known for its musical acts as much as its commitment to sustainability, Glastonbury Festival has utilized solar panels, wind turbines and biofuels to power its performances, significantly reducing its environmental footprint. Imagine walking through a showcase filled with the latest in clean energy technologies. These are innovations that can power our future, and they’re here, right now, for you to explore. 

What You Can Do: Next time you’re planning an event, seek out venues that utilize alternative, renewable energy sources.  

2. Dive Into Sustainable Development Forums

At these events, the focus is on how we can all contribute to a more sustainable world, from reducing waste to optimizing energy use. These forums offer a broad perspective on what sustainability really means. Green conferences like the Greenbuild International Conference are ideal to help you stay abreast of the latest in sustainable development. 

What You Can Do: Pick one sustainable practice you’ve learned from these forums and apply it to your next project. Even small changes, like reducing waste or improving energy efficiency, can make a big difference. 

3. Explore Technological Innovations 

Innovation is at the heart of environmentally-focused events. It’s not just about what’s new, it’s about what’s next and how these emerging technologies can help us live and work more sustainably. 

What You Can Do: Keep an open mind about new technologies. Can any of the innovations you’ve seen be adapted to your business or your next event to help it run more cleanly and efficiently? 

4. Engage in Policy Discussions 

The conversations around energy policies at these events can arm you with the knowledge you need to navigate the complex world of sustainability regulation and advocacy.

What You Can Do: Leverage the knowledge gained from these discussions to ensure your events are not only sustainable but also in compliance with current energy policies and regulations. This can also inform your advocacy for more sustainable industry standards. 

5. Seize Networking Opportunities 

The connections you can make at these events are invaluable. You’ll meet people who are as passionate about sustainability as you are, and who knows? You might just find your next business partner or collaborator.

What You Can Do: Don’t be shy! Reach out, share your ideas and see how you can work together with others to make your sustainability visions a reality. 

6. Benefit from Educational Sessions

The workshops and seminars on offer can be a goldmine of practical knowledge. They can teach you how to implement sustainable solutions in ways that are both effective and innovative. 

What You Can Do: Try to bring at least one new idea you’ve learned back to your team. Whether it’s a novel way to save energy or a strategy to engage your community in sustainability, every bit of knowledge helps. 

7. Find Inspiration and Motivation 

Above all, these events remind us that striving for sustainability can spark creativity and drive innovation in our businesses and events. 

What You Can Do: Let the stories of success and innovation you hear inspire you. Think about how you can integrate sustainability into your work, not just as a checklist item, but as a core part of your approach to business and event planning.

Environmentally-focused events are more than just gatherings – they’re a catalyst for change in our industries and in the way we think about business. By taking part and applying what we learn, we can all contribute to a more sustainable, innovative future. Let’s get inspired and make sustainability a cornerstone of our work!


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Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact