Research: Sustainable Practices in Event Planning Are Crucial

PromoLeaf, using the firm CensusWide, surveyed conference attendees to find out how important sustainable practices were to them. 

More than 1,000 participants were questioned about their conference attendance on matters such as: what items they both preferred and received; whether they preferred sustainable and practical items; and what they would do with items they received but did not want or use. 

The main takeaway: 60 percent of respondents prefer frequenting conferences with sustainable practices, with over 25 percent strongly preferring such conferences. 

PromoLeaf says event planners can capitalize on this interest: although most employees are “sent” to conferences, they can ask their employers, who likely embrace eco-friendliness, to send them only to conferences that adhere to these practices. 

There is also a generational divide: 68 percent of those respondents 16-24 years of age prefer or strongly prefer sustainable conferences and 69 percent of those 25-34 share this preference. 

Ultimately, future conference attendees, if the trend persists, will be remarkably concerned with the environmental impact of the conferences they attend. Of those who felt indifferent toward sustainability, nearly half were 55 and older.

Here are some other findings from the study: 

  • 60 percent of respondents (3 out of 5 people) prefer attending conferences that are hosted in a sustainable fashion, with over a quarter (27 percent) strongly preferring. Generational breakdown:
    • 68 percent of 16-24-year-olds prefer attending conferences that are hosted in a sustainable fashion
    • 69 percent of 25-34-year-olds prefer attending conferences that are hosted in a sustainable fashion
    • Almost half (45 percent) of survey respondents ages 55+ felt indifferent towards attending conferences that are hosted in a sustainable fashion
  • Eco-friendly dining options, such as compostable dishware and/or locally sourced menus, matter to more than half (54 percent) of survey respondents. Similar to the previous finding, younger generations tend to care most about this.
    • Matters to 68 percent of 16-24-year-olds 
    • Matters to 63 percent of 24-34-year-olds
    • Matters to 60 percent of 35-44-year-olds
    • Doesn’t matter to almost half (49 percent) of respondents aged 45-54 and 62 percent of respondents over the age of 55
  • 55 percent of conference-goers prefer vendor giveaways and swag bag items to consist of practical and eco-conscious products.
  • Most people (almost half 45 percent) donate swag items they don’t want/use or regift, 32 percent re-gift these items, and 15 percent of people throw out unwanted swag items.

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