Sustainable meetings, conferences and events

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No matter what type of meeting, conference or event you want to organise, you should consider how it can be made as sustainable as possible and how the choices you make as organiser can help participants/visitors make sustainable choices. It is always more sustainable to organise digital events and meetings, but if you need to hold face-to-face events there are some tips to make these as sustainable as possible.

These tips are largely from a big-city perspective, and not all will be relevant in all parts of the country. Think of them as providing support for how to incorporate sustainability aspects into the planning of your meeting, conference or event.


  • Choose the location with a view to potential transport options, as transport accounts for a large share of the climate impact. 
  • Recommend that participants/visitors walk, cycle or travel by public transport to the event. Show the most appropriate means of transport, with links to timetables. Consider the order in which you list the different means of transport. Public transport and walking/cycling should be at the top. Also ensure that facilities for parking bicycles are available.
  • For large-scale outdoor events, you need to choose a location that is suited to the event.  Take into account the look of the area; for example, what might be destroyed or subjected to littering nearby. Also consider whether local residents may be disturbed by noise and traffic. Maintain a positive dialogue with local residents to avoid dissatisfaction and any complaints.
  • Work with local stakeholders first and foremost to ensure a better environment and increased employment in the region.

Also note that police permits are required to arrange events for the public. You can get help from our checklist.
Checklist for events on

Purchasing and waste

  • Set sustainability requirements for suppliers when purchasing materials and products. It is important to ensure they don’t contain harmful substances and that they can be recycled or reused as far as possible.
  • Avoid disposable items and aim to use products with sustainable labelling, e.g the Nordic Swan, Good Environmental Choice, EU Ecolabel and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). 
  • Keep in mind that small-scale local options can be even more sustainable than eco-labelled products – even if they don’t have certification. If you choose local products, however, you need to find out how sustainable they actually are compared with equivalent eco-labelled goods, and ensure you communicate this. 
  • Arrange for waste sorting and designate a responsible party to mark the containers clearly for what can and cannot be recycled.

Food and drink

  • Ideally choose locally produced and organic food.
  • You can opt for listing vegetarian food as the standard choice instead of as a special diet, or at the top of the menu, to encourage more people to eat vegetarian food.
  • Game and locally produced organic meat generally have the least environmental impact. All imported foodstuffs – even vegetables – have a greater impact than locally produced and seasonal alternatives due to the issue of shipping. By making the right choices, the environmental and climate impact from your event can be greatly reduced.
  • Avoid serving bottled water and demand labelling such as KRAV, Fairtrade and MSC.

More environmental and sustainability labels for food at


Prioritise digital information and avoid printed material as far as possible.
Communicating about your sustainability work generates positive marketing, while setting a good example for other organisers.
Ensure participants/visitors can easily locate recycling stations.
Inform your partners as well that you are aiming to choose sustainable alternatives, so that they can help you achieve your ambitions.

Links and detailed information

City of Gothenburg/Göteborg & Co
Information for organising sustainable meetings
Sustainable meetings – Göteborg & Co (’s check list for organising events
Get a summary of the information you need to submit and the permits you need to apply for when organising an event. Answer a few questions to obtain a personal check list. The check list is not intended for those organising private events.
Check list for events

City of Stockholm’s guide for sustainable events
The City of Stockholm has a comprehensive sustainability guide for events, which also includes a check list.
City of Stockholm’s sustainability guide


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Responsible: Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth

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