Planners intigrate "Eco-Chic" esthetic to promote environmentally friendly events.
The international effort for society to become more environmentally conscious has undoubtedly began to affect the events industry, as many corporations and event planners have made substantial efforts to decrease their carbon footprint across the board. The difference between this “trend” and others is this one is not going anywhere; in fact “green” events will eventually become normalcy as suppliers bend their business models and operations to fit the demand of their clients. In an interview with Special Event Magazine, San Francisco-based Global Gourmet Catering’s Director of Sales & Marketing was quoted stating “We won a $250,000 piece of business recently away from a competitor because of our eco-friendly practices, where they lack.” SEM also spoke with San Francisco event producer Robert Fountain where he discussed “My clients are still interested in going green (in this economy), especially the non profits. It’s all about the appearance.” As planners begin to stretch their wings with green events, this notion of appearance has also become an important aspect as a décor theme. The term “Eco-Chic” has been coined to describe this newly found esthetic, blending earthy materials and products with a classy elegance.
Recent examples of "green" special events and decor usage
One of the most notable events to follow this esthetic trend is President Obama’s first White House State dinner. Décor highlights featured vintage electric chandeliers engulfed in freshly cut ivy which complimented the dark green LED up-lighting on the walls, light green floor length linens, and bamboo framed chairs. The usage of foliage such as grass sod and ivy are being used so extensively that planners are integrating the plants into tables, wall dividers, and even moss covered bars. Large trees, ferns, and hostas can also be used to design elegant garden displays which quickly bring a natural feel to the space. Centerpieces are often very simplistic such as orchids encased in glass cylinders or even as earthy as pots of neatly trimmed wheat grass.
Remember to tell the story of the eco-friendly manner in which the food was raised/grown for the event.
Catering choices are also an important aspect of a green event. Choosing dishes that are full of fresh fruits and vegetables not only compliment the themed décor with their presentation but also fits in with the health conscious nature of the theme. Where the food actually comes from is also becoming a frequently asked question to caterers when planning a green event. More planners every day are putting stipulations on food, beverage, and waste management in their RFP’s; requesting the food purchased for their event be grown and/or raised locally in an environmentally friendly manner. Working with caterers and facilities that have experience with these expectations is normally the best way to avoid outrageous cost increases. Quoted in a Special Event Magazine piece, Mary Crafts owner of Salt Lake City based Culinary Crafts suggests “Organic foods are not necessarily “green” foods and always cost more. We are selling less organic and focusing on more local foods, which can often be purchased affordably and showcase your commitment to green practices.” The usage of organic, chemical free, and locally grown products are not only more environmentally friendly choices but this notion also makes for outstanding marketing material. Using the story of where the food came from really makes for a more personal dining experience which is often accentuated with the use of “green” inspired décor.
Remember that if you are going to promote and execute a “green” event, make sure that you cover all of your bases (i.e. recycling, composting, energy efficient electrical use, etc.) Attendees will notice if you skirt an obvious green issue as producing green events not only follows the cultural trend but also serves a much larger purpose in the long run.