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  • Writer's pictureKarolína Vaňková

Sustainable Events 04: PR and Merch

The last chapter we will look at in our series on sustainability in event management is promotion, public relations and merchandising. How can you let the public know about your event without putting a strain on the environment and saving money at the same time?


Recently, we can observe a trend in advertising campaigns for various events, where traditional print advertising and information materials are being abandoned and communication with the public and promotions are moving into the digital space. This saves material and does not create unnecessary waste.

If we decide to print, we can use recycled paper printing. For large format poster or banner prints, we may consider printing on higher quality, more durable material and print promotional materials that we can use for future editions of the event. For example, we can also use old banners and promotional materials to produce promotional items.

Even the virtual promotion route is not entirely clean in terms of sustainability. Nowadays, it is possible to calculate precisely the carbon footprint we create when we use the Internet. There are now specialized carbon calculators for figuring out your digital carbon footprint. For example, we can use the Carbon Footprint Calculator and then offset our footprint by supporting offset projects.


Another popular way to raise awareness of your event or its purpose is to produce and distribute promotional items or merchandise. The most sustainable way is to not create merch at all. However, in case we do want to produce it, let's look at existing sustainable alternatives to producing it.

We can buy printed clothing, most often T-shirts, sweatshirts, or tote bags, from companies that ethically and sustainably source materials. It is advisable to focus on local producers, ideally, those who are certified sustainable. When we do have merch produced, let's look for ways that unsold pieces can remain reusable for our next event or future editions. For example, we can avoid specific dates in the printing.

In addition, we can create new merch by upcycling, reusing previously used materials, and making new items from them. This can range from using unsold pieces of promotional clothing from another event and giving it a new print or patch, to sewing fanny packs, wallets, and other souvenirs from old banners. As part of your event, you can set up a workshop where visitors can learn how to create their merch.

There are no limits to creativity in this area. But it is good to consider how to create as little waste as possible. Ideally, how to re-purpose your waste materials for reuse and avoid those that would only be disposable.

Continue to find your own path to sustainability and come up with your own alternatives. Educate yourself further in this area and come up with new solutions. Even small changes can make a big difference in the end.


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