Event sustainability is one of the fastest-growing trends in the meetings industry, and for good reason. Us planners have a vital role to play in addressing some of the sustainability challenges we face as a planet. As younger, more climate-conscious delegates start attending our events, it may not be long before being a fully certified sustainable event is the only type of event to attend!
In light of this, when the pandemic first struck in March 2020, our top priority was to learn more about how we can start catering for eco-friendly and sustainable events. With the support of Global Green Events who mentored us along the way, we came up with concrete alternatives in which we can organise great events whilst keeping the ecological and social footprint of each project as low as possible, without affecting costs significantly.
This led us to commit to partnering up with sustainable suppliers during our events. But what does this actually mean in practice?
Eco-certified Hotels and Establishments
The eco-certification is a voluntary scheme managed by the Malta Tourism Authority which recognizes hotels that show a tangible commitment towards the environment. Eco-certified hotels must comply with a detailed set of criteria. There are seven five star hotels and nine four-star eco-certified hotels on the island, all of which we work very closely with. There are also other certifications of interest which include the Green Key which is a leading standard of excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operation within the tourism industry as well as the iconic Blue Flag which is one of the world’s most recognised voluntary eco-labels awarded to beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators. All this information allows us to guide you and give you more insight when choosing your hotel.
When it comes to transport, there are many environmentally-friendly options which include escooters, tuk tuks, bicycles, electric vehicles and more. We also work closely with local transport giants Zarb Coaches, who have solar panels installed on their vehicles to generate green energy on the go!
Eco-friendly tours and activities
Here is where we got really creative! We compiled a long list of activities to suggest to our clients so as to make each event an unforgettable one, whilst leaving participants with that feel-good factor after each activity. Whether it involves a hands-on activity such as a beach clean up, learning a trade from local artisans or a senses experience such as wine tasting, our tours and activities are always very well received!
Our leading catering partners take pride in using the season’s finest local ingredients which are locally sourced where possible. They approach sustainability through operational practices which ensure the reduced consumption of water, energy, and material. Some initiatives they have in place include the use of fairtrade products, effective and efficient use of ingredients, reusable crockery, elimination of single-use plastic, energy saving equipment and the use of eco-friendly cleaning chemicals.
Sustainable merchandise and gifts
In our quest to try and reduce single-use plastic during our events, we have come up with an extensive list of re-usable, eco-friendly or biodegradable options to choose from – most of which can also be branded. We also partnered up with local artisans, merchandise as well as fashion designers, to offer a range of sustainable gifts whilst supporting small local business and the environment.
Merill Rural Network
This week we ventured out into the countryside with Christian who explained to us the concept behind Merill Rural Network.
Merill brings together a number of farmers, breeders and artisans. Through this network, tourists and locals have the opportunity to experience the Maltese Islands’ beautiful rural areas and consume genuine local products.
The network operates as a social enterprise and its main aim is to increase awareness about local agriculture, revive traditions, and empower the rural community to diversify their income in a sustainable manner. The two main pillars of the network are Rural Tours and Local Products.
The mission is to nurture alternative experiences for locals and tourists, which contribute directly towards the conservation of the environment and empowerment of the rural communities.
During our busy morning we visited a number of local artisans as we collected local products that were then served for lunch at an idyllic traditional farm where we enjoyed local cheeses, seasonal vegetables, Maltese bread with olive oil and of course local wine!
Over the years we have brainstormed and created a number of very interesting artisanal experiences for our guests, a great combination of local traditional visits and artisanal workshops ending off with a culinary experience set in a secret hideaway!
We love to show our guests this side of the Maltese culture and we know that in turn visitors love to mingle with local people, so all in all these ‘ECO’ activities have become a very integral part of our Malta programmes, and we are very happy about this!
Our countryside is limited but it is still the perfect location for a rest from the hustle and bustle and enjoying one of these tailor made tours is a great contribution to our local society.