Virtual, In-Person, or Hybrid? Choosing the Right Format for Your Supplier Day

Choose the right Supplier Day format: virtual for reach and low carbon, in-person for deep connections, or hybrid for the best of both.

Virtual, In-Person, or Hybrid? Choosing the Right Format for Your Supplier Day
Photo by Dylan Ferreira / Unsplash

As organizations intensify their focus on reducing Scope 3 emissions, the format of Supplier Day events emerges as a strategic decision point. Balancing the imperatives of effective engagement, cost management, and minimizing the event's own carbon footprint requires a nuanced approach. This article re-evaluates the options for hosting a Supplier Day, considering access to board and senior stakeholders, financial implications, and the environmental impact of the event itself.

Selecting the Supplier Day format—virtual, in-person, or hybrid—balances stakeholder access, costs, and environmental impact, aligning with sustainability goals and Scope 3 emissions reduction efforts.

Virtual Supplier Days: Maximizing Reach, Minimizing Carbon


  • Broad Access: Virtual events facilitate participation from across the globe, including easy access for board members and senior stakeholders without disrupting their schedules.
  • Reduced Costs: By cutting down on venue, travel, and logistical expenses, virtual events free up resources for other sustainability initiatives.
  • Lower Carbon Footprint: Virtual formats significantly reduce the GHG emissions associated with travel and event hosting, aligning with the goal of Scope 3 emissions reduction.


  • Engagement Limitations: Keeping participants engaged through a screen can be challenging, potentially diluting the impact of discussions and commitments.
  • Technical Dependencies: The success of a virtual event hinges on technology, with potential risks of technical difficulties.

In-Person Supplier Days: Deepening Connections, Considering Carbon


  • Richer Interactions: In-person events foster stronger connections and more dynamic exchanges, potentially including meaningful participation from leadership.
  • Immediate Feedback: The physical presence allows for real-time engagement, crucial for interactive sessions and workshops.


  • Higher Costs and Carbon Footprint: Physical events are costlier and generate higher GHG emissions, especially from travel and venue operations, posing a challenge to sustainability goals.
  • Logistical Complexities: Organizing an in-person event, particularly with diverse global suppliers, requires significant planning and resources.

Hybrid Supplier Days: Blending Best Practices


  • Flexible Participation: Offering both in-person and virtual attendance options accommodates diverse preferences and constraints, ensuring wider access, including for senior leadership.
  • Balanced Approach: Hybrid events can mitigate some environmental impacts by reducing the need for travel, while still providing opportunities for meaningful face-to-face interactions.


  • Planning Intricacies: Orchestrating a seamless hybrid experience demands meticulous planning and potentially higher resource investment to cater to both audiences effectively.

Making the Decision: A Strategic Framework

  • Stakeholder Accessibility: Consider which format will ensure meaningful participation from your organization’s leadership and the broader supplier base. Virtual or hybrid formats may offer the best solution for including senior stakeholders.
  • Cost vs. Benefit Analysis: Evaluate the financial implications of each format against the potential impact on supplier engagement and commitment to sustainability initiatives.
  • Environmental Consideration: Given the focus on Scope 3 emissions reduction, critically assess the carbon footprint of the event. Virtual events stand out for their lower environmental impact, but hybrid models can also offer a balanced solution with proper planning.


Choosing the format for your Supplier Day is a strategic decision that extends beyond logistical considerations, reflecting your organization's commitment to sustainability and effective supplier engagement. By weighing the access to key stakeholders, financial costs, and the GHG emissions associated with each format, you can select an approach that not only aligns with your sustainability goals but also amplifies the collective impact on reducing Scope 3 emissions. The right format will not only facilitate meaningful dialogue and collaboration but also demonstrate your organization's dedication to a sustainable future in action and ethos.