Jan Maarten Kloosterman works at the Events Department of the Dutch Postcode Lottery. He is project leader of the organisation of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge grand final in September in Amsterdam. We talked to him about what’s involved in organising a high level sustainable event like this.

Jan MaartenHow did you become a part of the organisation of the final in Amsterdam?
“I’ve been working at the Events Department of our lotteries for a long time. We organise all the events, which are most of the time connected to lottery prize-winning. Last year, when the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge celebrated its 10th edition and Queen Máxima was guest of honour I was involved as well. This year I have the project lead, which is a great opportunity for me. At its peak we have between 40-50 people helping us to build up the event in the former gas silo of the Westergasfabriek. The location is an icon in Amsterdam; it’s a huge round building. It has been the location of the event for many years.”

How does sustainability play a role in the organisation of this event?
“Sustainability plays a large role in all our events, it is always an important matter of attention for us. With the final of this competition, of course, we set the bar pretty high. We want to make sure that everything is done in the most sustainable way possible. Our finalists give their time and energy to make the world greener, we draw inspiration from that.”

Can you give an example of what kind of sustainable decisions you make?
“A clear example is our choice of a caterer for the event. All food and drinks are organic and come mostly from local suppliers to make sure we reduce our carbon footprint. Also, plates, cups and cutlery are biodegradable disposables. For the set dressing we use recycled materials. The tables are remade models of tables that we have used before.”

What is a focus for the organisation of this year’s edition?
“Over the years, the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge managed to develop into one of the world’s leading sustainable start-up competitions. It draws worldwide attention and receives submissions from all over the globe. To reach even the more remote areas – where practical yet brilliant ideas to combat climate change also arise – we worked with a start-up scout for the first time. It resulted in a staggering 515 submitted green business plans. We want this global scope to become clear in the event itself as well. We have come up with several ways of showing this, among others we plan to have a giant world map with pins at all the locations of this year’s submitted start-ups.”

How is this event different from other events you organise?
“What inspires me personally is the audience of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge. There will be around 500 people to witness the presentations. For the finalists it is a huge opportunity to get to communicate their great ideas here. There is a lot at stake for them. It is vital for us to realise that. We all walk the extra mile to accommodate them in the best way we can. We offer them the environment to practice their presentation in the actual setting until it’s perfect. We reassure them that we are here to make this a big success for them.”