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This guide is designed to help owners and organisers of major events ensure their event is both successful and more environmentally responsible. It outlines ways to develop and implement an environmental strategy and action plan, and offers practical tips, resources and checklists. Event owners and organisers will find it a valuable source of ideas for reducing their event’s environmental impacts in many key areas – from choosing supplies and contractors, to managing waste and resource use, transport, energy, water and greenhouse gas emissions.

Event greening makes good business sense and can mean a better experience for everyone involved.

Hosting a more environmentally responsible event can:

  • Improve the experience of participants. For example, a well-functioning public transport system will reduce travel time, traffic congestion, exhaust fumes, and parking issues. Good waste reduction policies and an efficient recycling system will reduce the amount of waste at an event.
  • Position you as a leader by setting best practice standards for more environmentally responsible major events in New Zealand. Demonstrating environmental commitment can also enhance relationships with customers and stakeholders.
  • Save money by reducing the cost of waste disposal, energy and water.
  • Help meet international expectations. Managing the environmental impacts is regarded as a core component of staging a world-class event. Significant efforts to reduce environmental impacts were made by the organisers of the 2006 FIFA Football World Cup in Germany, the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and the 2010 FIFA Football World Cup in South Africa.
  • Help protect New Zealand’s ‘100% Pure’ reputation. New Zealand’s ‘100% Pure’ tourism brand puts environmental performance prominently on the radar for visitors. By demonstrating efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of major events, organisers can help safeguard New Zealand’s international ‘clean and green’ reputation.
  • Help meet New Zealanders’ expectations. New Zealanders are known to be concerned about environmental impacts. The majority – 83 per cent – are aware of the significant environmental problems the world faces as a result of global warming. Over 32 per cent are interested in environmentally responsible products and services.1 As these proportions continue to grow, so too will public expectations for events that are more environmentally responsible.
  • Create legacies by raising attendees’ awareness, inspiring behaviour change, and influencing suppliers to adopt greener practices.
  • Help the environment and local communities by creating new business opportunities, minimising greenhouse gas emissions, waste and the use of water and energy; and boosting local economies.

This guide has been designed to complement the Ministry of Economic Development’s Major Event Resource Bank, which covers other aspects of major event planning. The guide was developed by the Ministry for the Environment, in consultation with event organisers, key government departments, and local authorities. The guide builds on the process for developing an environmental strategy and action plan set out in the 2007 Landcare Research Report, Environmental Sustainability for Major Events Concept Development.

1. Moxie Design Group. 2006. Understanding the market for sustainable living. Wellington: Moxie Design Group.