Our predictions for 2020 in the world of conferences and events

  • Events need to consider their environmental impact
  • They are genuinely diverse and inclusive
  • Delegates are supported to look after their health and wellbeing

Happy New Year! It’s January and that always makes us think about the roman god Janus after whom January is named.

He was represented as having two faces. One looking back at the old year and one looking forward to the new.

So, as we gear up to take on 2020, we have been reflecting on what we learnt in 2019 and what we think 2020 might hold in the year ahead.

During 2019 conversations noticeably shifted. We talked to leaders across the globe in a wide range of industries and the same themes were discussed time and time again.

Environmental consideration went mainstream, learning was paramount, diversity became a strategic imperative and wellbeing including mental health started to become a vital consideration for both employers and employees.

Our prediction for the conferences of 2020 and beyond is that delegates will expect that

  • Events they attend consider their environmental impact
  • They are genuinely diverse and inclusive
  • That their desire to look after their health and wellbeing is supported.

We hope that individuals start to question and challenge events that don’t take this approach and over time, it becomes the norm rather than the exception.

As an organisation who is passionate about these subjects we want to promote this as the default approach for any business event.

So we have updated our conference planning canvas to not only provide a framework for strategically planning the event but advice on what practical steps you can take in order to reduce environmental impact, promote diversity and inclusivity and improve on health and wellbeing.

Download our updated canvas with our checklist as to how to be more conscious and mindful in your event planning.

Reducing the Environmental Impact of your event.


This week we are providing tips and advice for how to reduce the environmental impact of an event. Over the next few weeks we will also explore the other elements.

We attend many, many events during a year and in 2019 we started to notice that organisations and even individuals who make a lot of effort to be environmentally conscious seem to forget this approach when it comes to running internal events.

Plastic water bottles, disposable coffee cups, masses of printing and waste, excess flights and car travel are all the default and while it is often not intentional, these areas are simply just not on the radar when it comes to the planning and execution of event delivery.

So here are a couple of things that will help to create about a more environmentally friendly approach to conference planning.

1. Take active steps to promote responsible transport options.

At Purple Monster we have always been advocates for face to face engagement. There’s nothing like the energy and impact of a face to face conference in terms of the memories that one can create. But, the environmental cost of flying delegates all over the world does need to be considered.

Ways you can reduce this impact:

  • Use systems to calculate the ideal location resulting in the least travel for all your attendees.
  • Challenge the attendee list – the fewer people attending, the less travel. Can you do one main event then a series of more local events to capture more people but reduce travel?
  • Use carbon offsetting for all flights that do need to be made.
  • For events not requiring flights, promote public and shared transport options over individual car travel. Consider offering train timetables and shuttle bus information in joining instructions. Make it easy for people to carshare or even not drive!
  • And finally – avoid people travelling at all – it is possible to create highly engaging and interactive virtual events.

2. Provide alternative options to single use plastic water bottles and disposable coffee cups.

People are becoming much more responsible and using refillable water bottles and cups in normal everyday life but it is easy for conference providers to forget this commitment when at a business event for a few days. Ensure single use bottles, disposable cups, plastic cutlery etc are simply not available at your event. Insist that your venue takes responsibility for this and make it part of your policy that you won’t book venues that use such materials.

3. Demonstrate steps to reduce waste i.e remove venue notepads from tables, minimal merchandise.

Think back to the last event you attended either inside your organisation or maybe an external event. How much ‘stuff’ were you given? Did you use the paper that was on your table or did you just doodle on it?

Be considerate around what needs printing – can agendas, slides and information be provided on an app or website rather than physically handed out?
Ask your venue to remove any notepads or printed material from the rooms you are using.
Be thoughtful when deciding merchandise or giveaways. We are not saying ban it all together but do people really need another branded pen or stress toy?

Everything that occurs in a large-scale event has some level of environmental as well as a pecuniary impact.

With a more conscious approach to the planning of your conferences we can make huge reductions in those environmental and budgetary costs, with little or no visible effect on the delegate experience.

With the devastating environmental disasters that are occurring all over the globe as we write this then it seems a good time to look back and forward like Janus to see what we can do to make a difference.

Remember 10 years ago we were not really recycling at all but it is common practice now. So we can do it. Think about it next time you are planning a conference and meeting.

Do you want to make your 2020 events more conscious and mindful whilst not compromising on the engagement, fun and impact?

Download our updated planning canvas or get in touch with the Monster team to help you!