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Climate Hacks for Event Professionals

By: Natalie Lowe, CMM, CRL | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter | Feb 24, 2022

Everywhere we look today, we chase high impact for least effort. The internet is awash in headlines like “most effective workouts” and “shortcuts to a healthier brain”. Pick an issue and there are a million articles to hack the problem in the easiest, most efficient way. Not so much on climate action. We don’t have a serious “Tim Ferris” style hack on how to make our events sustainable. Yet! So, let’s see if we can fix that.

Stop asking questions you don’t want answered. I did not ask my kid if he wanted to eat vegetables or ice cream because he was going to eat the vegetables. Why complicate things? The same goes for our events and clients – why are we asking if they want sustainable options? Implement the sustainable options and move on.


Engaging in right action not nice action. Climate action has two defining qualities: it’s a numbers game and it’s time sensitive. We need to ensure our actions are effective. If you run the numbers, you find a few key items make the difference. We rely on the number crunchers over at to determine high impact actions and then we take them.

Motion versus Action

In the book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about planning to act, and acting – or motion versus action. Act today. You know what you need to do, go do it.


The circular economy. In order to reduce waste, we need to use less things and use them longer. We can start on this by utilizing the shared economy, like event rentals, Uber and Airbnb, and push for repair rather than replace. The pandemic made us aware that our supply chains affect our events – let’s use that awareness to reduce our impact on the planet.

More than 3 R's. Recycling was overused and we have ignored the reduce and reuse. We need to address our overconsumption, not solve the waste caused by our overconsumption. Fun fact: 9% of the plastic you put in the recycle bin is recycled. The 4th R? Refuse.


Solving problems that should not exist. A lot of climate action is used to solve issues that we created – like single-use plastics or how we cut down our forests to make toilet paper instead of buying recycled. We need to stop doing what we always did and start innovating. The continuous improvement of the candle did not create the lightbulb. Get creative, people.

Timing matters. The 50/50/50 rule – we have a 50% chance of successfully surviving the climate emergency, if we reduce emissions 50% by 2030 and then another 50% by 2040. I enjoy life on planet Earth, so I’m doing everything I can to make those odds better.

If you are looking for the best things you can do, here’s a super short list:

- Stop serving beef at your events
- Buy only recycled paper products
- Replace glass and plastic and replace with aluminum for single serve
- Add sustainability questions in all your RFPs
- Set a climate action plan as part of your business plan
- Keep learning

At TSEF we utilize four pillars that are very effective for us: education; inspiration; collaboration and action – and we have found those pillars keep us focused.

Here’s to more sustainable events, and to each of us doing our part. You can count on me to do my part and a bit extra. Can we count on you?

About the Author:

Natalie Lowe, CMM, CRL
The Sustainable Events Forum / Celebrate Niagara



Natalie Lowe, CMM, CRL | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter

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