Sustainable Style

Top tips for creating a modern and Eco-friendly drinks reception…



Planning an event can be an exciting prospect – you choose a venue, pick the most tempting food and drink combinations and arrange the logistics, but on the day have you ever stopped to wonder where those trays of pastries will go now everyone has left the room for the meeting? Or who will turn off the air conditioning as you leave for the day? A lot of people don’t consider this, it’s a thought process we often leave behind when we exit our familiar environment.

BS 8901 is the framework which been developed specifically for the events industry after the London 2012 Olympics, as a standard by which the industry are held to operate in a more sustainable manner. As a result, BMA House has gained a Silver Tourism Award in our efforts to reduce the amount of energy used during events but there is still a long way to go from the venue, organiser and guest’s side to lessen the impact of events on the environment.

Here are my top tips for creating a sustainable yet simultaneously stylish drinks reception to go some way to readdressing the balance:

  1. LIGHTING: As you gaze out at the London night sky you can be overwhelmed by the lights which litter the skyline; bright white, twinkly blue and stable red which cling to buildings. Solar panelling has now been adopted by many households and offices as a way of cutting down on the wasteful energy this produces by harbouring a natural resource, sunlight. There are now emerging on the market some really innovative and interesting solar panelled lights that work perfectly for evening receptions. Homebase has some great solar paneled fairy light options which turn on automatically at dusk and off at dawn, using a handy mini solar panel to collect the sunlight. They can omit a very strong light and detect light changes, saving you the hassle of remembering to turn them off and on.
  1. THEMING: Pinterest is great for inspiring party ideas and has thousands of eco-friendly pins: There are tonnes of really great ideas for reusing things; everything from using crates as trays or jam jars for glasses filled with crushed ice and a variety of fruits.

3. CATERING: consider how the food is sourced for the event. If your venue has in house caterers, ask your planner for information on the caterer’s sustainability credentials. Or if you are sourcing your own food, look for locally sourced produce such as at the Bloomsbury Farmers Market:

Also consider the number of guests who have confirmed they will attend versus the number who will show up on the day. Factors including the weather, how regularly the event runs and if it is ticketed all contribute to how inclined guests will be to show up. I would consider these at the point of planning and account for drop outs accordingly.

  1. GET GUESTS INVOLVED: in the event greening process. Introduce it in the delegate packs, monitor how much energy was saved during your event and feedback to delegates after the event. Also encourage them to download eco apps. Build a narrative and take guests on the journey.

5. REUSE IS BETTER THAN RECYCLING: if any theming is left over from an event, try to reuse it where you can for future events or give to guests. If this isn’t possible, ensure it is recycled in the appropriate way. At venues, you can ask for their recycling policy.

You can read more about BS 8901 events industry framework here:

Written by Maxine Reynolds

Contact us on 020 7874 7020 or email

BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JP

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