If you’ve ever participated in a conference for work, you’ve probably noticed trash cans filled to the brim with catering containers, leftover food, and tons of trash. At Impact Hub Vienna, we host events on an almost daily basis, and for us, it’s really important to consider how we can make our events environmentally friendly.
The question of how to make a positive environmental impact is also related to the events we host and the catering companies we work with every day. Even the smallest thing can make a difference.
So how do we minimize our impact on the world with our events?
Our catering is provided by local firms which use organic, seasonal, and locally grown produce. Event goers will see that apple pies are in full swing in the fall, asparagus dishes can be found in abundance in spring, and there are no strawberry desserts for Christmas!
Snacks and beverages provided for coffee breaks are also locally produced and we buy them in bulk so that we reduce CO2 emissions caused by the back and forth transport of food.
For everything else that we need to make our guests happy and productive, we buy from the stores in our neighborhood to support local businesses.
Also Rita Bringt’s, one of our caterers, brings food by bike, which also reduces our carbon footprint, and uses palm leaf plates that are biodegradable.
Plastic and package reduction is one of the biggest challenges we face. We are constantly trying to improve and think about how we can reduce that waste. We don’t use plastic dishes, cutlery, or cups we use napkins from 100% recycled materials and are always looking for ways to reduce the use of packaging of food and drinks. We buy our drinks in refillable glass bottles and our caterers bring food in reusable glass jars in order to reduce plastic packaging.
We also have recycling bins in the event spaces to encourage our guests to properly dispose of their waste.
Reduce food waste
Food waste is an important and ever-present issue with events. We are very careful to order portions according to the number of event attendees. If there is food left over after an event, we usually offer it to our community. Also, the catering firms we work with often have their own solutions to preventing food waste from their services. Companies such as iss mich bring larger amounts of leftovers back to their kitchen or distribute it in town via foodsharing, which are the public fridges that are accessible to everyone.
During the month of May, we collaborated with one of our ventures, Süd & Satz, to collect coffee residue in a special waste bin, which is then used as soil for growing mushrooms.
Reduce meat consumption
This topic is still a bit controversial, but we encourage our clients to opt for vegetarian and vegan-only catering. Of course, we have to meet all client needs but we always educate our clients about some of the amazing veggie catering options they have, and they are usually happy to use them. We’ve built a big network of catering suppliers that are vegetarian and vegan only, so there is a lot to choose from. If we still need to offer meat dishes, our suppliers use organic, and locally grown meat.
Hosting sustainable events requires a little bit more planning, research and thought, but in the long run, once the foundation is there, it is easier to organize environmentally friendly events and reduce our footprint on our planet!