Green Events Standard

As we continue to prioritize the safety and health of our community at this time, all events must follow the University’s guidance on events and gatherings.

We recognize that full compliance with the Green Events Standard (particularly in the areas of food and waste) may not be possible, but we highly encourage all event planners to follow the directives of the Green Events Checklist where possible.

NYU Abu Dhabi is committed to reducing the environmental impact of the hundreds of events hosted every year. This standard includes actions that reduce waste and improve the food and beverage service at events through minimizing single-use and landfill-bound materials; opting for more reusable, long-lasting, or sustainably produced goods; increasing recycling and composting rates; and offering healthier and lower-impact food options.


Promotional Materials

  • Best Practice:
    • Conduct event promotion primarily digitally (through email, social media, and web-based marketing, including the University's public-facing or internal calendars).
    • Make banners out of durable material, designed to be used from year-to-year.
  • Encouraged:
    • Print or mount large-scale posters on cardboard (not foam core).
    • Make conference information and agendas available primarily on an accessible app or web platform.

Digital Marketing

Digital options have the added benefit of tracking RSVPs and providing metrics and analytics about your campaigns.

Food and Catering

Food Waste

  • Best Practice:
    • Order is designed to minimize food waste.
    • Donate leftover food to students or a local food pantry.
  • Encouraged:
    • Provide small plates to guests (to curb food waste).


  • Best Practice:
    • All cups and glasses are reusable, recyclable, or compostable.
    • Serve all beverages in reusable containers or dispensers.
  • Encouraged:
    • Serve food on reusable, communal platters with no individually packaged items.


Choose bulk catering over individually-packaged portions. Finger foods and passed hors d'oeuvres can also eliminate the need for utensils.


  • Best Practice:
    • Menu entrees include vegetarian and vegan dishes.
  • Encouraged:
    • Menu items feature organic and local ingredients.

Tip — Order for 80% Attendance

Take measures to obtain an accurate headcount close to the date of your event. For most events, look at historical data on guest attendance to truly gauge how much to order. You can anticipate a higher turnout and more accurate headcount when guests RSVP or pay to attend. Free events without an RSVP yield fewer attendees than anticipated. In general, we recommend ordering for a maximum of 80 percent of the anticipated attendees. This will cut food waste and also lower the cost of running your event.

Waste Management

  • Best Practice:
    • Group landfill, recycling, and compost bins (where available) together and labeled with proper signage.
    • Use compost bins for events.
    • Distribute reusable name badges AND collect for future use.

Decorations and Giveaways


  • Best Practice:
    • Use or rent reusable decorations.
    • No balloons (latex, mylar, helium filled, non-helium filled)
    • No disposable tablecloths (made of paper, plastic, vinyl)
  • Encouraged:
    • Use only potted plants or cut flowers that are grown organically and/or domestically


Use decorations made with durable materials that are not dated or branded to a theme that changes every year.

In lieu of balloons, consider reusable items that can help create ambiance: wash lights, and speakers playing music will all help set the scene


  • Best Practice:
    • Use Items with utility (serve a purpose/function).
    • Give away long-lasting items (can be used for 3+ years without needing to be replaced).
    • Use items made from sustainable materials (such as cloth, bamboo, stainless steel, glass, cork).
  • Encouraged:
    • Purchase items from certified B Corporations.
    • Apparel made with organic and/or recycled-content materials.