In 2019, plastic has been the driving force behind messages of sustainability throughout the events and incentives industry, with more importance than ever being placed on reducing waste from items like plastic cups and straws.  But there are many other ways we as an industry can reduce our environmental footprint. Without a doubt, our marine life and oceans are being massively affected by plastic, but if we’re looking at global warming and sustainability as a whole – it’s only a small part of the problem.

There is no doubt that the incentive travel industry contributes to many sustainability issues in the world and clients are starting to wise up to the impact they’re having on the planet. However, there are many ‘quick wins’ that we could start implementing today that are a step in the right direction when it comes to creating those all-important planet-friendly incentives.

Watch those Air Miles

Our industry needs to start considering alternatives to frequent international travel. We’re not suggesting that international incentive travel is on the decline, but instead for event planners to take a step back and think ‘green’ when it comes to regular or even unnecessary travel when planning incentive trips. This could be anything from organising virtual site recces to highlighting the impacts of long haul travel to your clients and offering them just as exciting shorter haul alternatives.

Carbon Offsetting

Purchasing carbon offsets to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions caused by air travel is a great way to give back. From investing in green energy solutions to planting trees – work out what a trip will cost the environment and give it back to counteract the effect. This is also a great communication piece to add into your incentive travel program, letting delegates know that the business is taking proactive steps to help combat their environmental impact.

New Ways of Travelling

It’s inevitable that you will need to travel by air if you want to take your employees on an international incentive, however, once you’re in country, why not try different ways of travelling from one location to another? Building in different methods of transport, such as boat or rail, adds to the overall experience for the delegates, while also significantly reducing the carbon emissions if you were to take internal flights.

Long Haul vs Short Haul

Many businesses are wising up to their impact on the planet and are making informed decisions and modifications to the way they do things. However, some businesses simply haven’t got to that point yet, so it’s our role to educate and inform them by giving them alternative options to their long haul destinations, with exciting shorter haul destinations they may never have considered before.

CSR Activity in Country

Instead of making planet-friendly incentives a business and agency only conversation, involve the delegates and get them doing an activity that makes them give back to the planet. Each destination could offer their own CSR activities where delegates can volunteer on projects to help give back, whether it’s a beach clean-up or planting trees, every little helps.

In reality, these changes may take time to become common practice, but if for every event, every agency and every client took these elements into consideration, the results could be enormous. As an industry, we have a huge responsibility to create a more sustainable world and we need to make sure we’re working together, step by step, to make a change.