Sustainable event management practices were a key component of Mayor Peduto’s recent inauguration. Mayor Peduto underscored his commitment to sustainability by instructing his event planning team to lead by example, and consider sustainable options during all the inaugural events. While winter weather forced many of the inaugural events inside, the event management team was able to incorporate many sustainable event management practices into the inaugural activities. Some examples include:
Communications, Publicity and Printing
Printing and communications decisions can help reduce our consumption and the chemical impacts related to the production of print materials. The inauguration team maximized the use of electronic and voice communications to provide patrons and the public with event information, while minimizing the circulation of print items. The inauguration team was able to print materials using soy based ink and chlorine free, recycled paper, which reduces the impacts on the recycling process. Inauguration programs were marked with recycling information and reminders for patrons “to please recycle”. Finally, the inauguration team was able to have all paper programs approved by two forest product management organizations, the Sustainable Forest Initiative and The Forest Stewardship Council.
Location, Logistics and Transportation
Minimizing travel distances and determining how patrons move between destinations can reduce both travel time and environmental impact. The planning team was able to carefully choose all event locations to be within the City’s Central Business District, The Strip District, and in Oakland. Selection of these locations helped to maximize transportation options for patrons and reduce travel time and distance by providing central proximity for attendees.
All inaugural events were accessible via public transportation provided by the Port Authority of Allegheny County. Unfortunately, poor weather made bicycle commuting and many pedestrian activities inhospitable. However, hundreds of attendees braved the wind walking from Heinz Hall to the reception line at PPG Place.
Materials and Waste
A key consideration for event planners working to create a sustainable event is selection of materials such as plates, cups and napkins. Making a sustainable choice requires attention to detail and determining whether items can be disposed or recycled. The event planning team worked with designated facilities to reduce and manage the waste-– specifically cardboard and paper materials. The facilities also used ‘in house’ linens, silverware and glassware which reduced waste and the need for paper and plastic products.
On Inauguration Night, the Heinz History Center was able to expand the number of recycling containers on site. Supplies of additional recycling containers provided by the Inauguration Event Committee enhanced the recycling bins already distributed throughout the History Center. The History Center’s catering team supplied all the glass, plastic and paper products for the event. All products were made from recyclable materials.
Food and Local Sourcing
Sourcing food from local vendors and producers can provide a great benefit to the local economy and reduce the cost and environmental impact associated with transporting food over long distances. Caterers were able to make accommodations for locally made food products. Also, at all of the Inaugural events, patrons made donations to the Pittsburgh Food Bank.
Inauguration Planning Provides Lessons Learned
Planning for the inauguration established a new precedent for hosting sustainable events within the City of Pittsburgh. Mayor Peduto and his team are eager to improve sustainable event management practices and learn from the experience of 60th Mayoral Inauguration.