Events rely on the donations and sponsorship they receive from their partnership. Sponsors of events recognize the “value” of associating themselves with environmentally friendly practices and “green thinking.” It is important that event sponsors understand and endorse the zero waste principals of your event upfront and are willing to participate. You don’t want to find out later that there was a misunderstanding about what is expected of the sponsor as a participant in your event. If a sponsor is unwilling to recognize your zero waste goals and policies, or even worse, hinder them, you may want to approach other funders who are more suitable.
The best way to manage these expectations is in a sponsorship agreement. For smaller, more informal events this may mean a simple exchange of a letter; for other situations, a formal sponsorship agreement may be necessary. This agreement must clearly state the event goals and what is expected of the sponsors. For example, if a beer company is participating as a sponsor at an outdoor festival and wish that their cups be used for all beverages on site, you could stipulate that their participation as a sponsor is contingent on the cups being compostable or recyclable. . As the event manager of your zero waste event, you have the ability to determine whose sponsorship you accept and under what terms and conditions.
In negotiating with potential sponsors, ask how the sponsor will meet your zero waste goals and be sure that their contributions will add support to your zero waste event. Be sure that your sponsor’s claims regarding environmental practices or the environmental benefits of a product or service are verifiable. You don’t want to find out after your event that one of your sponsor’s claims was untrue. It could damage the reputation of your event.
Waste diversion service providers or suppliers of bins and compostable dinnerware may be willing to discount the cost of their supplies or services in exchange for placement of their logo on signage around the event. These can greatly reduce costs for you, but be aware that their contributions are genuine and supportive of your goals.
This is a sponsor who supports the costs of improved diversion and communications efforts. This sponsor could be profiled on all of the recycling bins or on marketing materials for the event.
- Inform sponsors up front about your event’s zero waste policy.
- Require sponsors to sign an agreement that indicates endorsement and participation to support the zero waste policy.
- Ensure sponsors engage in business practices that support your zero waste or “green” principles.
- Encourage sponsors to seek creative ways that they can contribute to your event’s zero waste goals (e.g., by sponsoring the supply of reusable souvenir cups).
Global Best Practice
Summerfolk Festival, Owen Sound, ON
The Summerfolk Festival in Owen Sound, ON has a sponsorship agreement with the local waste and recycling hauler to provide their pick up and disposal services at no cost in exchange for acknowledgement in the festival program. Private sector operators value the opportunity to associate themselves with community events and environmental activities.
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