As a venue, you are at the very beginning of a couple’s planning journey, and as such, have a large influence over the sustainability of their wedding. We know that 78% of couples rank sustainability as either important of very important when planning their wedding, so showcasing your venue’s sustainable credentials to potential customers is key.
In addition to couples looking for sustainability in their venue, businesses are too. Suppliers are aligning themselves with venues and businesses that share their ethos.
It’s no secret that climate change is here, it’s real and we are all feeling the effects. In February 2022, the IPCC report detailed how human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world. “This report is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC. “It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our wellbeing and a healthy planet. Our actions today will shape how people adapt and nature responds to increasing climate risks.”
Now is the time to build a sustainable wedding business
Being sustainable is important now for several reasons, including:
Environmental concerns: Our planet is facing numerous environmental issues, including climate change, deforestation, pollution, and loss of biodiversity. By adopting sustainable practices, we can help mitigate the impact of these issues and preserve the environment for future generations.
Resource conservation: Many of the resources we use to support our modern lifestyle, such as oil, natural gas, and fresh water, are finite and becoming increasingly scarce. By using these resources in a sustainable manner, we can ensure that they will be available for future generations.
Economic benefits: Sustainable practices can lead to cost savings in the long run, as they often focus on reducing waste and improving efficiency. This can lead to reduced operating costs, increased profitability, and a more stable economic future.
Social responsibility: Being sustainable is not only important for the environment and economy, but it is also a matter of social responsibility. By adopting sustainable practices, we can ensure that we are not causing harm to communities and individuals, particularly those who are most vulnerable.
Overall, being sustainable is essential for a more liveable, equitable, and prosperous future for all. It is important to start taking action now to address these issues and build a more sustainable world.
How can you implement sustainability in your wedding business?
Sustainability can be daunting, and a bit overwhelming at times, so let’s keep it simple – take each of the seven sustainable themes and list out what you’re currently, doing, what you could do better and what you need to find out more about.
Energy: What is your current energy consumption? Can you reduce this by investing in energy-efficient lighting, appliances, and heating/cooling systems? Are you using renewable energy? If not, can you switch your suppliers or invest in your own renewable options? Installing solar panels, wind turbines and air/ground source heat pumps might be an option and they’re a great way to reduce your carbon emissions, save money in the long term and reduce your reliance on the national grid.
Waste: Do you have an effective waste management system? Where is your waste going? Could you buy less or encourage more reusing or recycling? Perhaps offer couples use of your in house decor items, create a prop shed of items for them to choose from or work with local suppliers. Record what waste is left after a wedding – how much is generated by the couple and their guests and how much by suppliers. Can you develop a guide to reducing waste for them? Put in place clear signage for your bins, implement effective recycling options, compost organic waste and avoid single use (not just plastic but everything single use!).
Water: Could you reduce water usage by installing low-flow toilets and taps, or put in place water-saving landscaping practices? Capturing rainwater and using it for landscaping and other non-potable uses is a great way to conserve water. Talk to your caters about water usage and ask them to keep to a minimum.
Transport: How does the team travel to work? Do you have a fleet of vehicles? If so, could these be transitioned to be electric vehicles? Invest in EV charging points – not only for staff but for couples and guests too. If your venue has public transport close by, encouraging guests to use it! You could also encourage car sharing amongst staff and suppliers.
Supply Chain: Who you buy from is a key part of your business’s carbon footprint. Regardless of the size of your business, reviewing your supply chain should be high on your sustainable strategy. For the majority of small businesses, 80% of your carbon emissions will come from your supply chain, that’s particularly true for venues. Create a list of all businesses that supply to you, ask them about their sustainability policies. If it’s important to you so it should be important to them – and if it’s not find a supplier whos ethos aligns with yours. Source locally grown and organic produce, flowers, and other essentials to support local farmers and reduce the environmental impact of transportation.
Carbon Emissions: Understanding what your carbon emissions are is the first step to reducing them. First all you need to measure your emissions, create a reduction plan, get reducing your emission and consider offsetting options for the emissions you aren’t able to reduce right now. Track your emission, and communicate your progress.
Team & Community: Involving your venue team in sustainability will be key to the new processes you put in place. Giving your team the opportunity to get involved in the elements they find interesting or are passionate about is key. Ensure suitable training is offered. It’s important that you also consider your local wedding community. Being an advocate for sustainability is a key part of being sustainable, encouraging others to make positive changes.
By adopting these sustainable practices, wedding venues can reduce their environmental impact and create a more conscious wedding experience for couples and guests alike.
What practical actions can you take now to make your wedding venue more sustainable?
There are many ways your venue can improve its sustainability right now – it’s about progress, not perfection. As a venue you are in control of so many aspects of sustainability, ready to get started?
1. Conduct an energy audit: An energy audit can help identify areas where the venue is using excessive energy and provide suggestions for improvement. Simple measures, like upgrading to LED lighting, improving insulation, and installing motion-sensing light switches, can lead to significant energy savings.
2. Reduce waste: Waste reduction is a critical component of sustainability. Weddings are particularly waste intensive events, and having a good waste management process is important. Start by measuring your waste – how much are you recycling, composting, sending to landfill. Then once measured, set reduction targets.
3. Encourage sustainable transport: Depending on your location will depend on what transport you recommend – if you’re in a city, then promoting public transport would be the way forward. If you’re more rural, partner with local car-sharing services and install EV charging points.
4. Implement green cleaning practices: Use natural, environmentally conscious cleaning products, reduce the use of harmful chemicals, and invest in cleaning equipment that is more energy-efficient.
5. Educate staff and guests: You are in a unique position to be able to educate your team and suppliers about sustainability, and influence and encourage couples and their guests to take simple sustainable actions at your venue, such as turning off lights not in use, putting their waste in the right bin and choosing environmentally conscious suppliers to reduce their environmental impact.
It’s time for you to reduce your environmental impact, improve your reputation, and contribute to a more sustainable future for all.
“There are so many reasons to love being a member of the Sustainable Wedding Alliance community – in fact, there are too many to list… feel free to reach out for a copy of our thesis on the benefits!
Community is the best place to start – we treasure our connection with others in the wedding industry who share our values and believe that our industry can be a force for good.
The membership platform connects us with other members all working together so that we can share best practice and create a more positive future for our businesses and our planet – it’s all about it’s all about those #littlewins.
The practical and ever growing resources, tutorials and training sessions keep us focused, inspired and constantly learning new things giving us a daily sense of pride and empowerment.
It’s just too easy to feel analysis paralysis around green issues and too overwhelmed to know where to start but now there is a simple solution – The Sustainable Wedding Alliance.” Rosie Kindersely, Sheepdrove Wedding Venue
Want to join a community of like minded businesses working towards becoming sustainable?
Being a sustainable, ethical environmentally friendly business gives you the competitive advantage when it comes to environmentally conscious couples looking for their wedding suppliers. By becoming a member you are joining a collective of businesses working together to reduce our industry’s impact on the planet, and taking the first step towards accreditation. Membership fees are based on the size of the business. Have a look at our membership page for more info.