This section is designed to help develop objectives, targets and actions for the following key greening focus areas:

  • supplies and contracts (procurement)
  • waste and resource use
  • transport
  • energy
  • construction and temporary activities
  • water
  • greenhouse gas emissions.

These focus areas have been chosen because:

  • they are likely to have the highest environmental or visual impact
  • they are the environmental impacts most commonly addressed by other major international events
  • addressing them is consistent with government environmental policy priorities for waste, energy, water and climate change.

Links to useful resources and case studies are also provided.

Remember: choose what’s relevant, realistic and appropriate for the event. Don’t try to do everything.

2.1 Supplies and contracts (procurement)

By using sustainable procurement processes for an event, the environmental impacts associated with goods and services can be significantly reduced.

Sustainable procurement: where organisations meet their needs for goods and services in a way that achieves value for money and generates benefits – not only to the organisation, but also to society and the economy – whilst minimising damage to the environment. 7

Start early: it is easier to ensure potential suppliers and contractors adopt greening actions at the beginning of the procurement process than expecting them to do so later once a contract has been signed. Be clear about environmental requirements when tendering and ensure these are spelled out in contracts.

Benefits of sustainable procurement
Through sustainable procurement an event can:

  • reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, non-renewable resource use, and water use. This can save money
  • enhance the ability of suppliers along the supply chain to provide more environmentally responsible goods and services.

Examples of possible objective, targets and actions for procurement

Ensure that procurement decisions about goods and services reduce impacts on climate change, waste, water and energy as far as reasonably possible.
All requests for proposals and clauses in supply contracts for the event’s goods and services follow environmentally responsible guidelines. Procurement decisions can show an assessment and management of environmental risks identified in all contracts.
Supporting Actions
Develop specific guidelines appropriate to the event’s objectives and targets that suppliers or service providers tendering for contracts can follow.
Add clauses to the tendering process and contracts that specifically outline the environmental responsibilities of suppliers or contractors. For example: (a) ‘All packaging is to be either recyclable or compostable within the region if possible’. (b) ‘All staff are educated on environmentally responsible practices relevant to their role (eg, waste management and water efficiency)’.
Encourage suppliers or service providers to take up an accepted environmental accreditation scheme.
Provide performers, media, and event attendees with information about New Zealand’s environmentally responsible accommodation, transport and activity providers before, during and after the event.
Where possible, determine minimum environmental requirements any supplier, venue or service provider must meet. For example, ‘The supplier must have a sustainability policy and action plan’.

Useful resources

Business Guide to a Sustainable Supply Chain– this New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development guide provides tools which can be adapted by individual companies to meet their own needs.

Eco-labels directory–developed by the New Zealand Government to improve the availability of information about ecolabels and other sustainability indicators relevant to consumers, suppliers and other organisations.

Environmental Choice– initiated and endorsed by the New Zealand Government. It provides a credible and independent guide for those wanting to purchase products that are better for the environment.

International Green Purchasing Network – Green Purchasing and Green Public Procurement Kit–provides information on how to establish and implement a green purchasing programme.

Sustainable Business Network– a forum for businesses interested in sustainable development practices. It has developed the Greenlist, a directory of sustainable products and services.

Buy Smart program– run by the Vancouver Olympic Committee and the Province of British Columbia’s 2010 Commerce Centre, this initiative uses the purchasing power of the Games to support ethical sourcing and enhance the social, environmental and economic performance of the Games and the Games supply chain.

Tips for choosing venues and suppliers

Look for venues that have a Qualmark Enviro-Award or certification from Green Globe or carboNZero. These programmes provide assurance that venues are taking steps to manage and reduce their environmental impacts.

Ask a supplier if they have an environmental policy or plan, and read it. Ask specific questions about:

  • Waste – do they seek to minimise waste, and have recycling and composting facilities?
  • Energy efficiency – do they use or supply energy efficient products and avoid unnecessary lighting?
  • Water efficiency – do they have water saving measures such as water efficient taps and dual flush toilets?
  • Staff – are staff aware of the organisation’s environmental policies and trained to implement them?
  • Sustainable products – do they use green or sustainable products where possible?

2.2 Waste and resource use

Waste is arguably the most visible environmental impact arising from a major event, and its presence can diminish the quality of attendees’ experiences. Waste can also be costly to dispose of.

For attendees, waste minimisation – such as recycling and composting – is the most tangible, practical, environmental action they can take. Moreover, it is likely that attendees already do it to some extent: many people recycle regularly at home and work, and expect to be able to do it wherever they go.

The range of recycling and composting options varies between regions, as do the costs. In Queenstown, for example, sending waste to landfill can be up to three times more expensive than recycling. 8 Talk to the local council(s) to find out what services are available in the region(s) where the event will be held.

Waste service providers are key stakeholders in major events, and it is important to determine early on what recycling and composting services they offer. This information will help determine what products can be used during the event and how waste facilities will be set up.

Examples of possible objective, target and actions for waste and resource use

To reduce the amount of waste produced through activities related to the event.
X per cent of waste diverted from landfill.
Supporting Actions
Provide suppliers and caterers with procurement guidance about sustainable packaging for food and beverage containers (see supplies and contracts).
Minimise construction and demolition waste (see construction and temporary activities).
Train staff and volunteers to champion waste minimisation activities.
Develop a waste awareness campaign as part of the event.
Encourage people to recycle at the event by offering incentives such as their deposit back upon return of an official event cup or container that is reusable or refillable.
Set up staffed recycling stations at event to help ensure people use recycling bins correctly.

A good way to think about waste at an event is:

  • controlling the inputs – eg, what food and beverage containers are permitted on site
  • managing the outputs eg, providing bins for recyclables and compostables, and having volunteers to help attendees make the right choice about where to put their waste.

Useful resources

Auckland City Council– event waste management case studies and a zero waste event guide.

Queenstown Lakes District Council– Zero Waste Guide for Events.

Zero Waste contains help and information about reducing waste and recycling.

Womad 2008 and 2009 – Towards Zero Waste: a case study from the Taranaki Regional Council.

Examples from major events

Sydney 2000 Olympics – a list of acceptable materials for packaging and foodware was developed, removing the use of polystyrene, aluminium foil, and plastic foodware.

FIFA World Cup 2006,Germany achieved a 17 per cent reduction in waste in and around the stadium by using returnable refillable cups instead of throw away cups.

FIFA World Cup 2010, South Africa is encouraging local schools to run a special Litter Free Sports Day or make their normal sports day a Litter Free Day, where children are encouraged to 'do the right thing' and put their rubbish in the bin.

2.3 Transport

Transport can be one of the most complex aspects of hosting a major event and is often the largest contributor to costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced air quality. Encouraging people to use greener transport modes to get to and from events will reduce travel time, traffic congestion, exhaust fumes, and parking issues.

Greener transport modes can mean taking the bus, train or shuttle; carpooling (private vehicles with four or more occupants); cycling or walking. Encouraging people to make these transport choices can require collaboration between venue owners, transport companies, and regional councils.

Examples of possible objective, target and actions for transport

Ensure people travel to and from event venues safely, efficiently and in a timely manner.
X per cent of all spectators use public transport to and from the event venue.
Supporting Actions
Encourage people to use greener transport modes by providing:
  • attractive walking routes between venues and central areas
  • reliable and frequent public transport services between venues, related events and central areas
  • incentives for attendees such as free public transport for attendees on display of event ticket.
Provide people with easily accessible information on what greener transport modes are available to get them to and from venues through:
  • key websites
  • booklets containing information such as all regional transport options, timetables, fares and routes.
Provide disincentives to travel by private car, for example:
  • charge high parking fees to private vehicles with fewer than four attendees
  • restrict or prohibit private vehicle parking near venue.
Promote accommodation close to venue so people can easily use greener transport modes.

Examples from major events

2000 Sydney Olympic Games – Private vehicle transportation to and from the Games was banned. Transport test events were held to get people to experience the ease of reaching the games site by public transport.

2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games – On Games days, people with tickets to the events could travel free on Melbourne's trains, trams and buses that accept Metcard. Travel Smart brochures were delivered to up to 10,000 households near key Games venues and up to 10,000 employees in the CBD, informing people about the public transport options.

2006 FIFA World Cup, Germany – Public transport tickets were included with event tickets. ‘World Cup Miles’, attractive routes connecting the main stations with stadiums, were set up to encourage spectators to walk to games.

Useful resources

New Zealand Transport Agency has developed a framework for transport planning, specifically geared towards the Rugby World Cup 2011. However, many of the principles and practices can be applied to other major events. For further details please email

2.4 Energy

Managing energy and improving energy efficiency at an event can lead to cost savings. If existing venues, such as stadiums are being used, it is important to signal early that energy efficiency is a goal – many energy efficiency initiatives require a significant lead time and investment.

An event’s main energy usage will come from:

  • using electricity to run lighting, heating and/or cooling in venues, stadiums, training facilities and/or festival sites
  • using fuel to move goods and services, attendees, performers, officials and other key stakeholders to and from the event (see transport section).

Examples of possible objective, target and actions for energy

Reduce ongoing energy use, costs and emissions directly associated with the event.
X per cent reduction in use of energy at existing stadium.
Supporting Actions
Talk to venue(s) owners – do they have an energy management plan?  Do they use energy efficiency products?
Ensure energy audits of venues (eg, stadium or convention centre) are undertaken, using an accredited auditor. Auditing is a key tool to help identify energy-saving opportunities.
Monitor and benchmark energy use at venues.
Train staff and volunteers in the basics such as turning off lights or appliances at the wall.
Consider back-up generators: what is the fuel source of these? Can an alternative fuel to diesel be used?
Encourage widespread use of energy efficient appliances and energy efficient/sustainability powered transport modes and vehicles related to the event.

Useful resources

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) has experienced account managers who can work with event organisers to identify opportunities to reduce energy use and save money. They also have a range of energy efficiency tools and guides.

2.5 Construction and temporary activities

Inevitably, some construction may be required during the preparations or delivery of an event. Specific facilities may need to be built or existing facilities upgraded.

Temporary activities and structures may also be required, including marquees, live site venues, fan zones, construction offices, catering zones, and visitor or volunteer centres.

Much can be done to improve the economic and environmental performance of such facilities and structures by using environmentally sustainable design (ESD) principles and practices. These ensure design and fit-out choices will, over the life of the facility or structure, address the important issues of energy efficiency, water conservation, waste minimisation, and transport. ESD emphasises the big picture, by looking for ways that will make the biggest impact. Designers should therefore tailor their ESD objectives to each specific facility or structure type, use and location.

Examples of objectives, targets and actions for construction and temporary activities

Improve the economic and environmental performance of facilities by reducing the environmental impacts associated with the design, construction, operation and deconstruction of facilities.Reduce the environmental impacts associated with facilities by using environmentally-preferred construction materials that have environmental certification.
All construction projects, including retrofits, have ESD principles incorporated into their design. All buildings have performance targets for their operation and these met or exceeded X per cent of the time.
Supporting Actions
Include use of ESD principles in all contract documentation for the design and construction of projects. Develop performance targets for the operation of the building that cover:
  • energy use (efficiency and conservation)
  • water use (efficiency and conservation)
  • materials (non-toxic and better for health and the environment)
  • waste minimisation (reuse and recycling)
  • other areas, particularly the building type and intended use.
Ensure the business case for all projects uses a whole-of-life costing approach, to maximise economic and environmental performance over a facilities’ useful life. Use an integrated ‘whole building’ design approach to ensure a project’s participants and systems work together to maximise performance outcomes.
Use architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and other building professionals with experience in applying ESD principles and practices. Use passive solar design principles to maximise energy efficiency.
Use contractors with proven experience in applying ESD principles and practices. Ensure waste minimisation targets are included in contract documentation for contractors.
Use environmentally-preferred construction materials that are:
  • durable and fit for purpose
  • sustainable
  • non-toxic and non-harmful to people and the environment
  • made from recycled content
  • able to be reused or recycled at the end of their usable life.
In the case of timber and wood products, creditable environmental certification (such as Forest Stewardship Council or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) ensures they come from a sustainably managed source.
Green Star NZ rating tools are New Zealand’s environmental certification tools for commercial buildings.

Construction success stories

AMI stadium, Christchurch – 99.9 percent of the demolition waste created by upgrading the AMI stadium for the Rugby World Cup 2011 has been diverted from landfill.

Department of Conservation Head Office – the Department occupies refitted premises in downtown Wellington that boast some of the most advanced sustainable ventilation and energy-saving strategies.

Useful resources

Value Case for Sustainable Building in New Zealand – Ministry for the Environment.

Integrated Whole Building Design Guidance – Ministry for the Environment.

Passive Solar Design Guidance – Ministry for the Environment.

Green Star rating tools and case studies – New Zealand Green Building Council.

LEVEL website – guidance for building professionals – BRANZ.

Environmental Choice New Zealand – certified building materials.

EECA website – energy efficiency guidance and tools .

REBRI website – construction and demolition waste minimisation guidance and tools – BRANZ.

2.6 Water

New Zealand’s water quality in urban and rural areas is under increasing pressure as agriculture and urban development intensifies.9 A major event presents an opportunity to highlight the importance of using water efficiently – including by rainwater capture and collecting grey water for reuse.

It is essential to work with venue owners when developing water savings objectives. Ensuring water resources are used efficiently at a venue is ultimately the responsibility of its owner.

If a new venue is being built, work with the designers and builders early in the process to ensure water saving mechanisms are incorporated into the design and construction.

Examples of objective, target and actions for water

Work with venue owners to ensure water resources are used efficiently by reducing water consumption and managing discharges to water.
X per cent reduction in use of potable water at existing venue.
Supporting Actions
For existing venue(s) and facilities:
  • undertake baseline water use audits and identify opportunities to retrofit improvements and reduce costs
  • implement at least one cost effective water-saving measure identified through the baseline audit.
For new-build facilities:
  • maximise water-saving mechanisms, and have the capacity to monitor water usage.
Promote accommodation providers that use water efficiently (eg, in sanitary facilities, laundry and grounds) to event attendees.

Examples from major events

Melbourne Commonwealth Games 2006 – collected and recycled rainwater within the athletes’ village and at venues.

FIFA Football World Cup 2006, Germany–achieved 18 per cent reduction in water consumption at stadiums by collecting rainwater, and using dry urinals and other water-saving devices.

2.7 Greenhouse gas emissions

International concern about climate change has led to increasing interest in the amount of greenhouse gases emitted in producing and delivering goods and services, including events. The calculation of carbon footprints10 is becoming more common, as are reduction and mitigation actions. 

Measuring greenhouse gas emissions

Compiling a credible and robust greenhouse gas inventory requires robust methodology and measurement systems.

The Ministry for the Environment’s Guidance for Voluntary, Corporate Greenhouse Gas Reporting: Data and Methods for the 2008 Calendar Year provides helpful information. However, the advice is directed mainly at corporate organisations: the approach taken to compiling a carbon inventory for an event may need to be quite different. Expert advice is therefore highly recommended. New Zealand firms and programmes which can help include:

Emission reduction activities

Many of the actions recommended in other focus areas will also reduce emissions. For example, taking steps to increase energy efficiency, encouraging the use of public transport, and reducing waste can all help reduce emissions. Likewise, data collected may be used to calculate emission savings.


Offsetting is where individuals and organisations mitigate their emissions by investing money in projects that avoid the production of carbon or remove it from the atmosphere.

Credible reductions in emissions should always accompany offsetting measures. It is more effective when greening an event to avoid creating the emissions rather than paying to offset them.

Again, if offsetting is to be part of an environmental responsibility plan, it is important to get expert advice. The Ministry for the Environment can provide general advice about offsetting greenhouse gas emissions, as well as measurement and reduction activities: email Offsetting providers and carbon brokers are another good source of information about offsets.

Purchasing or developing offsets is a complex area and requires a significant investment. It is important to get it right.

Example from major event

Big Day Out Australia Attendees to the Big Day Out music festival had the option of purchasing a ‘Clean and Green’ Ticket. This ticket cost an additional $1.60, which covered the cost of offsetting carbon through Australia’s Mallee Eucalyptus tree plantations.

Examples of objectives, targets and actions for greenhouse gas emissions

Measure the carbon footprint of the event.Ensure activities are undertaken in such a way as to avoid emissions wherever possible.Undertake actions to offset emissions generated directly by event-related activities. orProvide opportunities to encourage individual and corporate responsibility and choice.
A greenhouse gas emissions inventory is completed for the event. X number of emissions reduction actions are identified and implemented.
Supporting Actions
Complete a verified emissions inventory report for the event. Many of the actions undertaken to reduce energy, transport and waste will reduce emissions.
Undertake specific projects that create certified/verified carbon credits.
Undertake a community conservation project, such as planting trees on the green belt, or help develop a regional forest. Talk to councils and the Department of Conservation about access to conservation estates for planting trees.

Useful resources

carboNZero – one tool that can help certify an event and make it carbon neutral.

Offset the Rest – a tool to help manage carbon emissions.

Airshed provides tools and advice on managing carbon emissions.

7. Based on the working definition adopted by the Ministry of Economic Development from the Procuring the Future UK Sustainable Procurement Task Force 2006

8. Otago Southland Waste Services and Smart Environmental Ltd, April 2008. Sourced from Queenstown Lakes District Council – Zero Waste Guide for Events.

9. Fresh water

10. A carbon footprint is ‘the measure of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organisation, event or product’.

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