Tips for a more environmentally friendly meeting in Espoo
Visit Espoo wants to encourage all meeting planners and organisers to make responsible choices. We put together some tips to help you organise a more environmentally friendly event in Espoo.
We also want to highlight service providers in our region who are trendsetters in sustainable tourism, as well as some everyday actions that inspire all of us.
Support the usage of public transportation
The most significant cause of event-related emissions is the means of getting there. That is why we always recommend event planners choose venues easily accessible by public transportation. Or, more preferably, within walking distance for example, from the main congress venue.
Naturally, you can achieve the smallest carbon footprint by travelling on foot or by bicycle. And each step or pedal stroke is a clear investment in your well-being and everyday exercise routine!
- Cheer the participants and highlight eco-friendly transport alternatives in your event's marketing.
- Tell the participants how to navigate the city and get to the meeting place.
- Arrange group transports when the location is not easily accessible.
Espoo tip: Could the participants use city bikes?
Idea: Reward those who came by public transport, on foot or by bicycle with a small surprise.
Responsible choice: Åbergin Linja, a family-owned charter bus company from Espoo, with more than 85% of its daily traffic driven by environmentally friendly EEV and Euro6 class vehicles. The company was the first charter company in Finland to receive Visit Finland's Sustainable Travel Finland -label.
The food and beverages served at events also significantly contribute to carbon footprints. Meat production, in particular, has a substantial environmental impact. Therefore, could your event be part of the shift towards more plant-based meeting catering?
But whether it be vegetarian or meat dishes, minimising food waste and avoiding single-use tableware are simple ways to reduce emissions.
Tap water, please! Finland is known for its cleanliness, but many foreign visitors are still unaware that tap water is completely drinkable and among the cleanest in the world. So forget costly bottled water and proudly offer tap water at all events!
- Communicate your choices to the participants and encourage their responsibility, for example, in reducing food waste. Ask participants to communicate any dietary restrictions or barriers in advance to accommodate the catering adequately.
- Support restaurants and catering partners that prioritize locally sourced and seasonal ingredients.
- Always use cloth napkins for table settings and avoid single-use tableware. In necessary cases, opt for biodegradable versions of disposable tableware!
- Serve meeting water from pitchers or encourage the BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) principle.
Tip: Ask your catering service provider to minimize food waste by selling surplus portions through platforms like the ResQ Club app.
Idea: If there is leftover food from a breakfast event, could you pack takeaway lunches for the participants?
Did you know? The Eco Compass certified conference hotel Hanasaari has its own fisherman who ensures fresh fish for the hotel's restaurant PLATS throughout the year. Truly local food! Hanasaari has fishing rights to the waters surrounding its peninsula, where the idea originated.
Did you know? Haltia Lake Lodge, a nature boutique hotel in Nuuksio National Park, produces ingredients for its restaurant on-site using an automated vertical farming system developed by Arctic Farming Ltd. This allows the hotel to grow fresh herbs, salads, and berries significantly faster than traditional farming methods, without pesticides and with approximately 95% less water consumption than conventional agriculture.
Choice of venue and accommodation
The minimum you can do as an event organiser before choosing a venue is to inquire about environmental programs. Or how is social responsibility taken into account in the hotel, restaurant, or meeting venue?
- An easy way to ensure a responsible choice is to favour environmentally certified meeting spaces and accommodations or suppliers whose sustainability can be otherwise verified.
- Favour venues/accommodation options with good public transport connections or within walking distance.
Sustainable choice: Green Key certified Hawkhill Cottage Resort in Nuuksio National Park, a family company providing high-quality cottage and villa experiences to domestic and foreign customers for almost 60 years. Hawkhill is a true forerunner in sustainable travel, using its family business as a tool in the fight against climate change. Today, they are, for example, restoring the Haukansuo bog located on the company's land as climate action and for the protection of biodiversity.
The company is also committed to developing diversity and inclusion and is a member of the We Speak Gay community. Read more about Hawkhill's sustainability work.
Did you know? Haltia Lake Lodge, a nature hotel, was chosen as Europe's most environmentally friendly hotel in 2022. The hotel also became the first in the Nordic countries to join the Hotels for Trees program in February 2022. Through the program, visitors have the opportunity to offset part of their CO2 emissions by planting trees.
Tip: Look at the environmentally certified meeting spaces and accommodations in the Espoo area below.
Social programme - Activities
- Favour service providers that are environmentally certified or whose responsible operations have otherwise been verified.
- Choose activities where environmental impacts are minimized.
Did you know? All activity providers operating in the Nuuksio National Park area follow the principles of sustainable nature tourism.
Idea: Challenge the disposable culture with fun team activity! Book Tuunaajamutsi's fun and creative workshop, where you create something new from the old, such as recycled leather keychains or earrings. The materials used are the company's surplus or materials that the participants bring from home.
Tip: Check out environmentally certified activities!
Browse and explore exciting experiences and activities provided by a service provider who has received third-party certification for their sustainability efforts (Green Activities, Green Key, Ekokompassi, or similar).
Before purchasing new items or printing meeting materials, consider whether they are necessary. Will participants gain additional value from them, or will they cause more hassle? Unfortunately, many giveaways intended for participants end up being unnecessary for the recipients.
- Digitise materials and content. Deliver event materials to participants in electronic format before or after the event. Very few people still want printed materials.
- When giveaways are needed, favour environmentally certified, sustainably and ethically produced products and responsible producers.
- Promote the reuse and recycling of materials.
Idea: Could participants be encouraged to bring their own conference bag or water bottle that can be filled at the event venue?
Example from us: Our Visit Espoo booth for the annual Congress Fair has been designed to use the same booth elements for multiple consecutive years. Our booth from 2018 to 2020 was also constructed using 80% recycled materials.