Sustainability Archives | ZiaBia

Reducing food waste at events – what a good idea!

Food waste is a growing concern around the world. Did you know that we throw away an estimated one-third of all globally produced food?

While this problem occurs at every level of the food supply chain, it is particularly prevalent in the events industry. Conferences, festivals and events often require large quantities of food. But what happens to the surplus?

Worry about running short of food and hungry delegates can lead to an overestimate of the amount of food needed!

Some level of over catering is inevitable. At ZiaBia we are working with our caterers, partners and venues to try find a home for excess food. This sometimes means introducing them to companies dedicated to this cause, such as OLIO.


An OLIO case study

In a nutshell, the OLIO app is easy to use and simply connects people and businesses with their local communities. Through their OLIO Food Waste Heroes program, an army of local volunteers collect surplus food from events to prevent it from going in the bin.

On one recent event in London, we worked with OLIO in two different ways:

  1. Food Waste Heroes – OLIO sent one of their volunteers to collect the left over lunch sandwiches. They then redistributed this on the app on our behalf. These sandwiches were shared with the local community and the homeless living in the area.
  2. A direct ‘shout out’ on the app – we posted that we had leftover hot food after the dinner, inviting the local community to come with their containers and collect what they wanted. Most went to low-income families and to people on their way home from work re-filling their lunchboxes.

You may be surprised how many venues are already working with OLIO or similar. Some hotel companies already have regular collections established across their hotel groups and policies in place.

When talking about your event catering, ask right from the outset what their food waste policy is. You can even introduce them to OLIO if they aren’t already working with them.

Our pre-event planning at ZiaBia always includes a discussion with the venue or caterer about managing the food quantities being produced; minimising the surplus; and how to redistribute any excess.

Helping the local community while making your event more sustainable is surely a win win?


Top tips to reduce food waste

Here are our top tips to start to reduce food waste at your next event:


Reducing the food waste at events is just one part of ZiaBia’s efforts towards a more sustainable future in the industry.

If you would like to speak to us about how you could reduce your food waste or how to make your events more sustainable and environmentally friendly contact us for a chat.

A guide to making your event more sustainable

Sustainable events - not something the event industry is well known for!

To help counteract this, we at ZiaBia work hard to make the events we deliver be more sustainable. There are so many resources and options out there now, there really isn’t any excuse when making proactive steps to being greener.


When putting a sustainable event together, the first thing to do is plan

Start the conversation early

We do this at proposal stage to set requirements for the project. Build these goals and discussion points in your project plan. This will ensure actions are actively monitored and don’t become a tick box exercise. Think about the conversations you will need to have with suppliers, so they can help you achieve the clients’ goals.


When setting your event’s sustainability plan here are some main areas for consideration:

Your venue (and other suppliers)

Undoubtably one of the most important, and largest spend on the budget, is the venue so the more they can support your needs the better. There is a lot of areas to consider when working with your venue and other suppliers.

 Managing waste

There can be so much waste generated for, and at, an event so taking steps to try to reduce this will make a big difference.


An integral part of an event and lots of areas to consider as much of the physical branding is single use.

Green goody bags

Previously a staple of events, but these are getting a bit of a plastic tat bad rap these days. So how can you still have them at a sustainable event?


Whilst it would be good to not use anything disposable, this sometimes needs to be considered in terms of longevity.

Offset your travel

We have been working with COCO+ for nearly a year now. We book all our travel – flights and trains – through them. They add a small fee to the ticket price which offsets the carbon for that particular journey.

Throughout the year they track the  Co2 generated on your journey and how much they offset. Then they send you a regular update on what projects they have supported to offset against. In our first 6 months we have offset 4.306 tonnes of CO2 to the Gold Standard Global Portfolio of Renewable Energy and Bhadla Solar in India.


As you can see, there are lots of areas for consideration when making your event sustainable. Some are quick wins and others which take a bit more planning to implement.

If you would like to speak to us about how we can help you start to make your event more sustainable and environmentally friendly then contact us for a chat.

ZiaBia’s journey to Net Zero

Following the messages and key outcomes from COP26, the team at ZiaBia wanted to find a way to be more sustainable, in the ever-changing world in which we live in.

Looking at the remaining part of this year, we decided to focus on our travel. For the last few years, understandably, we have had to do very limited travel as the whole world has been ‘online’ but this is now ramping back up!


Making our travel net zero

A big question being asked at the moment of the events industry as a whole, is

‘how do you remain sustainable when you are starting to fly all over the world again?’

If it has to happen, for a good business reason, how can we work towards being Net Zero?


From September, the ZiaBia team will be travelling alongside one of our clients to deliver the European leg of their World Tour. Specifically being on site in 8 countries, but in total running 21 events. In general, now face to face is firmly back on everyone’s agenda, our travel has substantially increased. We wanted to look into how we could offset this  as we have many international events coming online for 2023.


Enter COCO+

I met Phil Brown many years ago when we worked together in hotels, and we caught up in July. Over the last few years he has co-founded and launched a full service travel management company. They are committed to making a difference to the planet and are a B Corp pending business.

Following our catch up and tour of the platform the COCO+ team use, we are now proud to say that they are our travel partner for train, planes, automobiles and any other form of transport we may need to use. This will help us travel on behalf of our clients in a sustainable way!

What we really liked about their approach was that they combine intuitive technology that prioritises the most sustainable trip options and with their Offset+ Pledge, they are going to enable ZiaBia to travel at Net Zero, at no extra effort.


What's next?

Looking forward, ZiaBia will review all of our systems and approaches, with B Corp being a focus for us. We truly want to do the best we can to deliver for our clients in the most sustainable way to do our part for our planet, as we only have one chance to look after it.


If anyone would like more details or information on COCO+ or an introduction as to how they can help, just let us know!