• The aim of this guideline is to direct employees planning both larger and smaller external and internal events to consider an environmentally friendly event format and to take this into account when drafting procurement.
  • Together, we fuel the creation of a sustainable future both at home and globally, with sustainability requirements already written into the related procurements for event organization.
  • This guideline outlines the ideal situation, as well as the minimum requirements and recommendations to follow.
  • The guideline consists of seven modules. Each module contributes to ESG principles, where ESG addresses sustainability topics related to environmental (E), social (S), and corporate governance (G).

What does ideal event organization ensure?

  • The event takes place in a location that is easily accessible. Public transportation networks and their alternatives are available, and mobility is facilitated. Information on transportation options and parking areas is well thought out, displayed, and clearly communicated to participants.
  • All stages of activity, from the organizer’s technical team to the catering provider, are thought through, documented, and communicated to all parties involved.
  • The choice of the event location and its good accessibility help to reduce the generation of greenhouse gases.
  • Adherence to energy consumption efficiency principles! All energy comes from renewable sources, and the buildings and devices used are energy-efficient.
  • Materials used are reusable and recyclable. Waste generation is minimal and is collected separately. Waste quantities are measured by type, and efforts are made to reduce waste volumes each subsequent year.
  • Based on the principles of sustainable resource management and conservation of natural resources.
  • The event’s environmental impact in terms of CO2 footprint is measured: catering – food, drink, water consumption, and waste; transportation – guests, staff, goods, and waste; other – energy needs and decorations/supplies. After the event, the provider/organizer submits an environmental impact report to the Joint Agency, based on which long-term plans can be set for future events.
  • The visitor leaves the event with an understanding that their needs were considered and that environmental conservation was taken into account in the event’s organization.

Accessibility (Social issues)

  • Venue Selection: Choose locations with a small footprint: public transportation (bus, trolley, tram, train, etc.), walking and scooters, rental cars. Check their availability in the area, reservation options, and parking arrangements due to parking management.
  • Communication: Always inform participants on the event website or other information channels about how to arrive at the event using the most environmentally friendly transportation solutions, how to plan departures considering the event’s end time, and how to avoid congestion while complying with local restrictions.
  • Accessibility for Organizers and Speakers: Consider accessibility for the event management team and speakers.
  • Virtual Participation: Allow participation via live streaming and/or provide a recording for later viewing.
  • Accessibility Principles: Familiarize yourself with accessibility principles on the competence center’s website.
  • Local Accessibility Recommendations: Learn about the accessibility recommendations for the event location area. Information for Tallinn can be found here.
  • Inclusivity for Individuals with Unique Needs: Understand the right of people with specific and distinctive needs to participate in the event. Ensure their accessibility to the physical environment and communication.
  • Dietary Restrictions: Ask participants for information about dietary principles and restrictions such as food intolerances and allergies.
  • Shared Transportation: Offer the option of using shared transportation and create a ride-sharing tool that ensures a seat in the shared vehicle for visitors.

Event Location and Accommodation (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance issues)

  • Proximity: Choose an event location that is close to the majority of the participants’ locations, if possible.
  • Verification: Check the accuracy of the event location address and, if necessary, opening hours.
  • Local Inclusion: In selecting the event venue, consider how it can facilitate the involvement of local businesses close to existing social infrastructure: service companies, shops, restaurants, pharmacies, and other necessities needed for the event.
  • Resource Availability: Prefer venues where necessary equipment such as furniture and technology is largely available onsite, reducing the environmental impact through CO2 footprint.
  • Virtual Alternatives: Consider whether the meeting could be held online. Utilize tele- and video conferencing services to reduce travel-related environmental impacts. If a video conference is not possible, offer participants with a particularly high carbon footprint the option to participate online.
  • Sustainable Locations: When finding environmentally friendly solutions, prefer locations outside of major cities that support lower-income communities or are closer to your target audience. This stimulates the local economy and benefits the area. Always inform participants why you chose this location to enhance awareness of various sustainability principles during the venue selection.
  • Sustainability in Venues and Accommodation: Choose venues and accommodations that follow environmentally friendly operational principles, including energy savings, waste collection, and recycling. Some internationally recognized building certifications include BREEAM, LEED, and Green Key. Environmental management obligations are also certified by marks such as ISO 14001, BS8901, or EMAS. Search for these necessary standards.
  • Influence Choices: Influence the choices of participants and travel organizers by recommending accommodations that operate based on sustainability principles.
  • Custom Guidelines: Develop guidelines based on the event location, taking into account the destination’s and event’s specifics, visitor numbers, terrain, and other criteria to assess the impact of activities on the venue.

Suistanable Procurement (Environmental and Corporate Governance issues)

  • Expectations in Technical Descriptions: When preparing the procurement, articulate expectations that are reflected in the technical description (based on descriptions of minimum requirements).
  • Evaluation Criteria Weighting: When determining the weights of the evaluation criteria, consider the environmental impact of products or services offered by the participants in the procurement.
  • Monitoring: Designate a supervisor for the execution of the procurement and agree on what will be evaluated, when, and how.
  • Sanctions/Consequences in the Procurement: Articulate sanctions or consequences that the procurement partner must consider if deviations or violations occur. When formulating sanctions, ensure that they are not restrictive or discourage participation in the procurement.
  • Consideration of Minimum Requirements and Recommendations: When drafting the procurement, consider the minimum requirements and recommendations for organizing sustainable events to maintain the possibility of finding a suitable partner.
  • Pre-Procurement Market Assessment: Use the opportunity to assess services available in the market before announcing the procurement and, if necessary, organize an event to introduce the procurement.
  • Improvement of Monitoring Based on Experience: Enhance the guidance materials based on the experience of procurement monitoring.
  • Verify Sustainability of the Provider: Ensure that the provider is sustainable and not merely engaging in “greenwashing.”

Catering (Environmental and Social issues)

  • Local and Seasonal Food: Prioritize local and seasonal food as much as possible.
  • Vegetarian and Vegan Options: Always offer balanced vegan and vegetarian meals. Clearly label these options.
  • Dietary Preferences and Restrictions: Ask participants for information about dietary principles and restrictions, such as food intolerances and allergies.
  • Allergen Awareness: Avoid common allergens or clearly label them.
  • Alternative to Bottled Water: Offer drinking water from pitchers instead of bottled water.
  • Reducing Leftovers: Consider serving smaller portions (e.g., sandwiches cut in half) to minimize waste.
  • Social and Cultural Considerations: Take into account the social and cultural backgrounds of participants at international events.
  • Accessibility for People with Disabilities: Consider the needs of individuals with disabilities.
  • Plant-Based Milk Options: Offer plant-based milk alternatives alongside coffee.
  • Fair Trade Products: Where possible, use fair trade products (e.g., coffee, tea, sugar).
  • Organic Products: Use organic products when possible.
  • Choosing Caterers: Prefer caterers who adhere to the same principles.
  • Inform Participants: Educate participants about environmentally sustainable catering practices.
  • Fair Trade Products: Whenever possible, use fair trade products such as coffee, tea, and sugar.
  • Organic Products: Use organic products if available.
  • Choosing Caterers: Prefer caterers who adhere to the same principles of sustainability and ethical sourcing.
  • Educate Participants: Inform attendees about the environmentally sustainable practices being implemented in catering.

Energy and Climate (Environmental issues)

A) Building Energy Use Criteria

  • Energy Efficiency Principles: Adhere to energy consumption efficiency principles, ensuring that resources such as heating and water are used sparingly. Designate a team member to continuously check during the event to prevent resource loss.
  • Mapping Energy Use: Identify major sources and activities related to energy consumption in event management and base planning on this mapping. Calculate the expected energy demand to ensure sufficient capacity.
  • Renewable Energy and Eco-friendly Solutions: Ensure the availability and usability of renewable energy and environmentally friendly solutions.
  • Permanent Power Connection: If the event venue allows, choose a permanent electrical connection over temporary generators.
  • Energy Reduction Plan: The event organizer/procurement partner should have an energy reduction plan with specific metrics.
  • Maximize Natural Light: Use natural daylight as much as possible (in rooms, coffee corners, dining areas, exhibition areas, etc.).
  • LED Lighting: Buildings should have energy-efficient LED lighting!
  • Temperature Control: Buildings should be able to adjust temperatures. Lower the temperature in rooms where no activity is taking place! Select conference buildings and hotels with energy-efficient solutions (energy label A, B).

B) Equipment Criteria

  • Energy-efficient Equipment: Ensure that the equipment used at events is as energy-efficient as possible. Use electrical devices minimally, only as necessary for organizing the event.
  • Resource-saving Equipment: Use equipment that minimizes the possibility of resource wastage: prefer handwashing stations with pumps or timers, lighting with motion sensors, refillable sanitizer containers instead of disposable ones, etc.
  • Power Management: Devices not in use during breaks/pauses should be switched to energy-saving mode or turned off completely.
  • Greenhouse Gas Compensation: Compensate for inevitable greenhouse gas emissions caused by organizers or participants (e.g., a compensation option is available upon ticket purchase or is already included in the price). The organizer offers the compensation solution!

Waste Management (Environmental issues)

Types of Waste Collection Depending on the Event Nature:

  • Waste Segregation: Separate collection of at least mixed municipal waste, bio-waste, non-deposit packaging, and paper/cardboard (if generated at the event) is required.
  • Recycling Compliance: The organizer ensures that segregated wastes are recycled according to type. Agreements with the venue and partners ensure that wastes are collected and handed over to handlers by type, and the venue provides waste quantity reports to the organizer.
  • Guidelines and Labels: Find guidelines for segregated collection [here] and labels [here]. It’s crucial to follow established color schemes: containers for deposit packaging – green; biological waste – brown; mixed packaging – yellow; mixed municipal waste – black.

Criteria for Effective Waste Management:

  • Minimizing Waste Generation: Waste reduction is pre-planned, and partners are aware of and comply with these requirements.
  • Proper Disposal Facilities: Event participants and organizers should be able to dispose of waste in clearly labeled containers. Ensure bins have clear and understandable labels (in multiple languages, with pictograms). Design files for labels can be found [here].
  • Waste Management Agreement: Ensure a written agreement with the waste handler for separate waste management at the event location.
  • Supplier Oversight: Waste management requires supplier oversight and special attention to the final disposal of collected waste. Using transparent trash bags can facilitate proper segregation.
  • Clear Instructions for Participants: Provide clear instructions on what waste goes where.
  • Inform Partners: Notify cooperation partners about waste management plans.
  • Hygiene Products: Instead of mini-packaging for soap, shampoo, and shower gel, use dispensers.
  • Avoid Single-Use Packaging: Avoid single-use packets for sugar, tea, milk, etc., and single-use straws.
  • Reusable Dishes and Utensils: Use reusable plates, cups, utensils, and glasses. If not possible, opt for biodegradable disposables.
  • Reduce Food Waste: Communicate the exact number of participants to caterers to minimize food waste.
  • Reusable Materials for Signage: Use reusable materials for signs, banners, name tags, etc., and organize the collection of used items.
  • Packaging Minimization: If a gift comes in a presentable package, avoid additional packaging like gift bags.
  • Material Reusability: Choose materials based on their reusability. Prefer rental and reusable options.
  • Minimize Packaging: Favor reusable products and bulk packaging.
  • Glass Bottles for Drinks: Serve bottled drinks only in glass bottles.
  • Food Donation Agreements: Pre-arrange who will donate leftover food, the caterer or the organizer. If laws permit, donate uneaten food to a food aid organization.
  • Food Waste Sorting by Caterers: Caterers should sort different types of food waste and direct organic waste to composting.
  • Packaging Return by Supplier: Require that the supplier take back the packaging.

Guest Management (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance issues)

  • Clear Sustainability Goals: Ensure that the sustainability goals of the events are clearly articulated and accessible to all (preferably on the organization’s website). Develop a sustainability communication plan for participants with clear messages.
  • Event Information: Share information about the event’s eco-friendly goals and activities, linking the event’s sustainability to the entrepreneur’s values and culture.
  • Early Communication: Inform participants of each event’s rules as early as possible, such as with the invitation. This should include information about transportation/logistics. The event’s sustainable focus should also be visible on signs and information boards.
  • Digital Channels Preference: Prefer digital channels for information and promotional materials, and keep the volume of paper materials to a minimum. Use electronic devices like screens and tablets.
  • Avoid Digital Waste: Avoid creating digital waste. Share important information as text in an email or, if using designed materials, share a link to the file instead of attaching it directly to the email (to prevent it from becoming digital clutter in each recipient’s mailbox). Alternatively, create a temporary webpage and share its link.
  • Feedback Collection: Collect feedback from participants (and other organizers) on how to better organize sustainable events in the future. If necessary, review and update the guide to sustainable events.
  • Comprehensive Information for Foreign Guests: Provide comprehensive and up-to-date information in a language understandable to foreign guests throughout the preparation and execution of the event.
  • Creative Engagement Solutions: Use various creative solutions to engage participants and highlight sustainability topics, such as quizzes, prizes, micro-training sessions, or sending sustainability ambassadors from your organization to the event.
  • Event Recording: Make a recording of the event that is accessible and available for later viewing.
  • Sustainable Gifts: Ensure that gifts are of local origin, made from sustainable materials, possibly reusable, or carry a green message (e.g., a tree planted in the recipient’s name, local food). Avoid additional packaging.
  • Local Speakers and Artists: Prefer local speakers and artists whenever possible.
  • Carbon Offset Options: If you have already reduced the footprint through the above measures, offer guests the option to contribute to further reducing the event’s footprint (e.g., carbon dioxide compensation).
  • Travel Plan: Develop a movement plan for participants, organizers, and partners based on the event location, covering movement to and within the event area.


  • Sustainable Development – The harmonious development of social, environmental, and economic sectors, finding a balance between creating well-being for people and the planet’s limited ecological resources.
  • ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) – ESG addresses sustainability themes related to environmental, social, and corporate governance issues. It involves a conscious, process-oriented journey of change management that results in a policy encompassing these three themes:
    • Environmental issues contribute to addressing climate change, natural resource usage, waste, and business opportunities in green technologies.
    • Social issues enhance contributions to employees, products, services, stakeholder engagement, and ensuring accessibility.
    • Governance issues enhance policies related to corporate governance, company culture, business ethics, and transparency.
  • Greenhouse Gases (GHG) – These are gases that absorb infrared radiation, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), ozone (O3), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), water vapor, and other photochemically significant gases.
  • CO2 Footprint – The total amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions associated with the activities of an individual, organization, or other entity. It characterizes the impact of human activity on the environment, especially in relation to climate change.
  • Sustainability – A dynamic state achieved through sustainable (or enduring) development. It represents a balance between creating a satisfying living environment for people and the development of the economy.