How can sustainable materials enhance events?

05 June 2023 by Acre
blog author

Acre’s purpose is to create systemic change for our planet and society by activating people’s potential. Our two decades of sustainability-focused executive search and recruitment means that, in our efforts to live this purpose, we’ve built an expansive global network of people united by one common purpose: to build a more sustainable future for generations to come.

From time to time, we gather this network together to share challenges, knowledge and successes; after all, sustainable change cannot happen in isolation. But as a B-Corp ourselves, and a group of people with a passion for sustainability, we strive to ensure that when we do get together, the planet doesn’t suffer for it.

What we’ve learned along the way is that there’s no perfect formula – yet – but that doesn’t mean you can’t do things as sustainably as possible. Everything from the food you serve and the drinks you sip, to the nametags you wear and the decorations you use can still be good for the environment.

So, over the coming months, we’ll be sharing some of our favourite tips and tricks by spotlighting the partners and suppliers that make our sustainable event dreams come true.

And, in light of today being World Environment Day, what better way to start than by spotlighting some of the sustainable materials that allow us to maintain a high-quality event in an environmentally-friendly way.

How did we do this?

Back in March, we held our 6th Sustainable Drinks Fundraiser at London’s iconic Sky Garden - an event that is near and dear to our hearts. In support of Ocean Generation, the event provides an evening of sustainable drinks and canapés, alongside discussions about the challenges and opportunities associated with sustainability within the food and beverage industry.

A challenge we’ve always had in the past, is how to provide standard event materials - like nametags and lanyards - without having a room full of single-use plastic.

This year, we had the pleasure of partnering with Notpla to ensure that this wasn’t the case.

Who is Notpla?

Notpla is on a mission to make packaging disappear. The powerful startup used its innovations to disrupt the packaging industry and influence industry leaders to act against the climate crisis, as human activity generates more mountains of plastic pollution.

Last year, Notpla won the prestigious 'Build a Waste Free World' Earthshot Prize, founded by Prince William, for ground-breaking efforts to eliminate waste. With 6.3bn tonnes of untreated plastic waste polluting our land and sea, the team believes the future lies in seaweed as an alternative to plastic and has designed a line of products to support this.

Why did we partner with them?

Acre has had a long-standing search and recruitment partnership with Notpla. Not only is the team a group of purpose-driven professionals whose values align closely with ours, but their seaweed paper also added a valuable alternative to wasteful nametags and menus at our event. The paper, made from the company’s seaweed by-products from industrial processing, helps build a circular economy with very little waste (if any) and this level of innovation is a key industry disruptor which we hope will be an inspiration to other firms.

Beyond this, our guests also had the pleasure of trying their waste-free, edible cocktails throughout the night. Encased in an edible seaweed capsule, Notpla’s Oohos were the perfect replacement for single-use plastic cups and bottles. Guests simply popped one in their mouth and enjoyed the burst of flavour - pun intended.

Why are materials like this so important for events?

Even when hosting networking events, we pride ourselves on ensuring that, wherever possible, every element aligns with our purpose.

Therefore, it would be remiss of us to host a sustainable drinks event that didn’t encapsulate sustainable branding materials and refreshments. Entertaining a gathering of passionate sustainability leaders gave us the opportunity to showcase some of the great innovations out there, which can replace single-use plastic for a more positive impact, while underpinning our belief that hosting an event shouldn’t cost the earth.

All of this inspiration is brought to you on World Environment Day which reminds the global population that people’s actions matter when it comes to plastic pollution, with tens of millions of people expected to take part.

Policies such as plastic bag bans, innovative solutions to combat single-use packaging, and allocated finances for sustainability has accelerated the journey for change with the collective backing of a global agreement to end plastic pollution.

Under the hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution, World Environment Day 2023 provides an opportunity to further urge governments, cities and businesses to invest in and implement solutions to end plastic pollution.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the day has become one of the largest global platforms for environmental outreach – how will your business support World Environment Day today?