Eco-Friendly Awards Event Planning: Practical Tips and Strategies

As environmental awareness and concerns continue to grow, the ability to host an earth-friendly event is more important than ever! 

Whether you’re hosting a recognition event to celebrate people, or a gathering for any occasion, this guide will help you deliver a successful and memorable eco-friendly event!

As with anything related to sustainability, the first question is always “Should we be doing this at all?” The pandemic ushered in a lot of tools to help us meet virtually, potentially saving a significant amount of travel and costs when compared to an in-person gathering because travel and accommodations are typically the greatest source of carbon emissions associated with event planning. However, there are few experiences as uplifting and inspiring as celebrating with other people gathered in the same space, it’s simply human nature. 

Every situation is unique so there is no right or wrong, but if you’ve considered the pros and cons and decided to hold an in-person awards event this year, then read on for tips on how to do it with eco-friendly style! Or scroll to the bottom to download our Ultimate Guide to Planning Eco-Friendly Events packed full with more helpful tips and insights!

#1 Venue selection

Choose and book a venue that can accommodate your numbers, is centrally located, and is easily accessible by public transport to reduce the carbon footprint of attendees. Some venues are earth-friendly by their very nature, while others cater specifically to eco-friendly events.


LEED-Certified Buildings: Consider a venue that is certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. LEED-certified buildings are designed to be environmentally sustainable, using resources efficiently and minimizing waste.


Botanical Gardens: Botanical gardens offer lush and beautiful outdoor settings that are perfect for eco-friendly events. In addition to all the plants and flowers, they often have sustainable practices such as composting and water conservation in place. 


Farms, Parks and Vineyards: These venues offer a rustic and natural setting for events. Many farms operate sustainably with organic farming practices, composting, and avoiding the use of pesticides. Plus they often use local and seasonal ingredients in their catering.


Green Hotels: Look for hotels that are certified by programs like Green Seal, Green Key, or the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. These hotels prioritize sustainability, from energy-efficient lighting, to water conservation, to composting food waste.


Nature Centres: Nature centres provide a unique and natural backdrop for events. Many nature centres have environmental education programs and sustainable practices in place, such as solar panels and rainwater harvesting.
Your venue can really help elevate and emphasize the green elements of your event, so it’s worth thinking outside the box and finding out what is available near you.

Bonus Green Tip: Consider booking an outdoor venue that uses natural light instead of electrical lighting!


#2 Choose Earth Friendly Awards 

If you're presenting awards at your event, source earth-friendly awards to amplify your impact and highlight your green values. This actually  applies to any awards event, though it's particularly worth considering when recognizing leadership and excellence in sustainability.
Vancouver Award (1)


Though beautiful awards and trophies may be cherished for a lifetime or two, it's still important to consider end-of-life options. Choose pieces that can eventually be recycled, reused, or composted, and avoid products that will ultimately end up in landfill.


Consider the production process of the awards. Choose products that are made using sustainable manufacturing practices, such as solar laser engraving, that have a low carbon footprint. Where possible, choose a local supplier to reduce transportation.


Consider the design of the awards and trophies. Choose designs that are timeless and will not go out of style quickly. This adds to the life of your awards, reducing need for frequent replacements and updates.


Choose awards and trophies made from sustainable and environmentally friendly materials, such as recycled glass or reclaimed wood. Avoid materials that are harmful to the environment, such as plastics, acrylics and lucite, which release toxins and can take hundreds of years to decompose.
By choosing earth-friendly and eco-friendly awards and trophies, you demonstrate your commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. You also set an example for others to follow and help to promote a culture of sustainability within your community.

Bonus Green Tip: Choose an awards supplier that’s specialized and experienced in making eco-friendly awards (like Eclipse Awards) as opposed to a supplier that simply carries a few eco-friendly trophy options.  The stories behind the awards and the difference in quality will be significant.


#3 Time to start Marketing!

Once your date and venue are confirmed, it’s time to start marketing! Marketing your eco-friendly awards event is important because it helps to raise awareness of your commitment to sustainability and while also encouraging others to adopt more earth-friendly practices. Here are three important considerations when marketing your eco-friendly awards event.


Target Audience: Identify your target audience (which may be internal, external or both) and tailor your messaging to appeal to their interests and values. For example, if you are trying to engage environmentally conscious individuals, highlight the eco-friendly aspects of your event and your commitment to sustainability.


Messaging: Craft clear and concise messaging that communicates the unique value and benefits of attending your eco-friendly awards event. Who will be recognized and why? Focus on the positive impact that attendees will have by supporting a sustainable and responsible event.


Channels: Choose the most effective marketing channels to reach your target audience. This may include social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instgram, email marketing, or targeted advertising. Consider partnering with local environmental organizations or sustainability-focused publications to increase your reach and credibility.
Awards events generate a lot of great stories with marketing value. Focus on these considerations when marketing your eco-friendly awards event and you can leverage their value by effectively communicating the benefits of attending, reaching a broader audience, attracting new supporters, and inspiring others to adopt more sustainable practices.

Bonus Green Tips: create a unique hashtag like #MyAwardStory to promote your event on social media. For accessibility, always use Camel Case hashtags, which capitalize the first letter of multi-word hashtags (ie #myawardstory vs #MyAwardStory).

To raise the profile of your event, assign a social media concierge that can provide real-time status updates at your event, while also monitoring your social media channels for tags and mentions.


#4 To swag or not to swag?

“To swag or not to swag?” is another important question. These days people are more interested in quality and durability as opposed to disposability, and there’s been a strong backlash against single-use plastic items. The greenest events have limited or no physical swag, however should you decide to present some to your guests, here are a few points to keep in mind.


Avoid anything that’s going to end up in the landfill in the next few hours, days or even years. Instead consider earth-friendly gifts that are plant-based, organic and biodegradable. Bonus points if they also have a practical use, such as:
  • Organic cotton tote bags or tea towels
  • Seed packets or plantable seed papers
  • Soy candles made from plant based wax
  • Tiny plants or sedums that require little water and care
  • Reusable bamboo straws or bamboo cutting boards


Source your gifts and swag from sustainable and ethical suppliers. They can likely provide suggestions once they understand your sustainability goals.
There is less expectation for swag at events now, particularly at green events. However, in some cases, swag can still be helpful for marketing and branding. Consider your needs carefully, then find an earth-friendly gift that can fulfill that need.


Choose to work with eco-friendly suppliers and partners, particularly your caterer. Food transportation and food waste have a huge environmental impact and will likely have the 2nd largest carbon footprint of your event (after travel). So, if you’re going to serve food, here are 5 considerations for choosing a good caterer that provides locally grown food and can help you deliver a great event.


Look for a caterer that sources ingredients from local farmers and suppliers. This not only reduces the carbon emissions associated with transportation, but also supports your local economy and helps ensure the freshness and quality of the food.


A good sustainable caterer should have eco-friendly practices in place, such as using compostable or reusable plates, cutlery and napkins, and avoiding the use of single-use plastics. They should also have a plan for serving an appropriate amount of food, minimizing food waste and recycling.


A caterer that offers seasonal menus is more likely to provide fresh, in-season produce, which is not only tastier but also more sustainable. Seasonal produce has a lower environmental impact as it requires less transportation and energy to grow.


Make sure your caterer can accommodate any special dietary requirements your guests may have, such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or dairy-free. A good caterer should offer a variety of options that cater to different dietary needs and preferences.


The way the food is presented and served can also impact the sustainability of the event. Look for a caterer that uses reusable or compostable plates and cutlery, and avoids using plastics and excess packaging.
Food can play a role in bringing people together, so choosing a sustainable caterer that provides locally grown food can be an important aspect of delivering a great eco-friendly awards event. By considering these factors, you can ensure that your caterer is not only delicious, but also supports the local community and promotes a healthier and more sustainable food system.

We hope you have enjoyed this sampling of tips and suggestions for delivering an earth-friendly event, and we salute you for the vision and leadership of planning one!

For 8 more practical tips and tricks to help you plan eco-friendly events that will impress your clients and attendees alike, download our free Ultimate Guide to Planning Eco-Friendly Events

Want some help getting started?

If you have further questions or things that you’ve learned, we encourage you to get in touch with us as we’re always here to help you recognize and appreciate your people, while also honoring our planet! Wishing you all the best in the year ahead — happy gathering and celebrating!

Give us a call or send an email to start a conversation. Tell us about your project or ideas. We are at your service and always happy to share our experience!

Why choose Eclipse Awards?

At Eclipse, sustainability is a priority, not an afterthought. All of our awards and trophies are designed and produced with nature in mind and we focus on organic, natural, and recycled materials like wood and glass. We are also committed to avoiding plastics, acrylics, and toxic chemicals wherever possible.

Eclipse Awards is 100% powered by green energy, including solar energy from our rooftop solar panels. We are carbon neutral and we plant 2 trees for every award we make.

Read more about our sustainability values and commitments here