Conference Design

Sustainable Business Events in Australia: Culture, Giving Back & Ethical Eating

3rd April 2023

Nicole Walker, Managing Director of award-winning event management company Arinex, explores how Australia offers sustainable options for business events and tourism that go beyond just environmental practices.

If you’re looking for a destination that holistically embraces sustainable business events and tourism, Australia has got you covered. It offers many ways for business events to support sustainability, where you can make a positive impact while enjoying everything this beautiful country has to offer.

Cultural Connections

Australia is home to the oldest living culture on earth. The customs and traditions of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people span 60,000 years. 

Business event and tourism experiences that are managed and operated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities can provide an unparalleled glimpse into the rich history of First Australians’ spiritual and physical connection with the land and sea. By supporting First Nations enterprises, you will be helping to safeguard this valuable cultural legacy.

A traditional Welcome to Country – delivered by the local area’s Traditional Owners of the land on which the event takes place – is performed at the start of an event. Often including a speech, dance, song and traditional smoking ceremony, it can be a moving experience for attendees as well as a way of supporting local Aboriginal businesses and communities. 

In the heart of Sydney, a walkabout tour of illi-Langi, also known as The Rocks, uncovers the authentic history of the Aboriginal people’s saltwater heritage within Sydney Harbour, their land and water use and their spiritual connection to the adjoining waterways and foreshores.

Near Western Australia’s capital of Perth, Koomal Dreaming takes visitors on a journey to experience the country from the perspective of the Wadandi and Bibbulman people. The cultural tours and education programs introduce participants to native foods, bush medicine, and Dreamtime legends.

In North Queensland, guests can discover the cultural significance of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef with Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel. First Nations rangers host guests on tours to two outer reefs where snorkelling is mixed with stories, demonstrations and lessons from the guides’ ancestors. 

Establishing an Aboriginal Procurement Policy at the outset of event planning is an effective way to ensure Aboriginal culture, business and employment is supported throughout the supply chain. 

Gifts for Good

Those looking for speaker and attendee gifts that support a social course or local community will find plenty of options in Australia.

Mettle Women Inc, a gift delivery service based in Western Australia, employs women experiencing homelessness due to domestic violence. 

The social enterprise company provides paid employment, training and support to help women access safe housing and take the next steps in their future.  

Gift box inclusions range from locally sourced artisan products like ethically produced chocolate and organic wine, to in-house ‘Made by Mettle’ body products, room diffusers and scented candles, which can be white labelled for custom branding.

Maruku Arts Gallery, located at Uluru (also known as Ayres Rock) Cultural Centre, involves a collective of around 900 Aboriginal artists belonging to over 20 remote communities. Collections for purchase include paintings, traditional carvings and jewellery.

Near South Australia’s capital of Adelaide, First Nations-owned produce company Warndu is described as an Australian native food revolution. The company works with First Nations communities to create native food experiences and products such as freeze-dried Australian Native Desert Lime and gifts created from Australian ingredients such as a Bush Botanical Essential Oil Set.

Ethical Eats

Sustainable events begin with sourcing locally and ethically produced food and beverage, with many conferences and events in Australia now offering a food-based experience that supports a social or cultural cause as well.

Food rescue organisation OzHarvest offers a Cooking for a Cause experience for smaller groups up to 50 to learn more about zero waste food preparation. Attendees create a gourmet meal using rescued ingredients, which is then packed for local charities. Many conference and event venues in Australia partner with OzHarvest to distribute unused food and ingredients to those in need.

Larger groups of up to 150 can take part in a team cooking experience with Indigenous chef Mark Olive of The Cheeky Olive. The MasterChef style competition invites participants to create a three-course meal incorporating native ingredients while Mark shares insights from his culture. 

Conscious Tourism

Volunteering and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities are a great way for a conference to support the human and social aspects of sustainability, while also strengthening team connections.

Sydney-based company Team Building with Purpose creates corporate volunteering experiences that support both local and international charities and communities. Its range of programs can take place in practically any conference venue or hotel across Australia. 

Their ‘Rainmakers Program’ supporting charity Drought Angels, teaches attendees about the impact of natural disasters on farming communities and mental health. Interactive sessions involve quizzes and a hamper pack challenge where teams shop for long-life food items and build hampers to be sent to struggling farmers across Australia. 

The team at Business Events Cairns and Great Barrier Reef in North Queensland can help event planners tailor itineraries to include CSR components, such as helping rehabilitate sick and injured turtles or establishing a new eucalyptus tree plantation to support the habitat of koalas. Delegates can easily get involved in these initiatives and contribute to the community and the environment while attending an event.

Nicole Walker is Managing Director of Arinex, Australia’s first carbon-neutral-certified event management company.  For more information, contact

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