Going green is easier than you think.
To continue to enjoy the quality of life we treasure, everyone needs to work and live in a more sustainable manner. For the meetings industry, this means making a concerted effort to reduce the use of resources and the amount of waste from meeting activities. According to Meeting Strategies Worldwide, a typical five-day conference for 2,500 attendees will use 90,000 cans or bottles, 75,000 cups and 87,500 napkins.
Green meetings are not only good for business; they're good for the earth. According to the Green Meetings Industry Council, green meetings save money by conserving resources while creating and enhancing an organization’s competitive advantage and reputation.
Maybe that's why companies and associations are being encouraged by shareholders and members to demonstrate environmental responsiveness and corporate responsibility in their activities, including meetings. Moreover, organizations are increasingly tasked with tightening meeting spending, which is causing meeting planners to consider all options to reduce waste and increase efficiency.
To help, here are some tips from BlueGreen Meetings for meeting planners to make their events more environmentally responsible:
Put it in writing - Establish an environmental statement or policy for the meeting, and get buy-in on it from the meeting host organization's management. Share the policy with suppliers, delegates and speakers.
Use paperless technology - Use new media and electronic technology to cut down your paper use. Create a conference website, offer electronic registration and confirmation, and advertise using the Web and/or email.
Practice the 3Rs - Ask your hotel and meeting venue to provide visible and accessible Reduction, Reuse and Recycling services for paper, metal, plastic and glass.
Bulk up - Have your food and beverage service provider use bulk dispensers for sugar, salt, pepper, cream and other condiments.
Lighten your stay - Choose a hotel that offers a linen reuse program, bulk dispensers for shampoos and soaps in guest suites, and water-saving devices on toilets and faucets in all bathrooms.
Eat green - Include vegetarian meals and have meals planned using local, seasonal produce.
Close the recycling loop - Have all printed materials published on recycled paper, using vegetable-based inks, and on both sides of the page.
Save energy - Coordinate with the meeting venue to ensure that energy lights and air conditioning will be turned off when rooms are not in use.
Spread the word! - Tell delegates, speakers and the media about your success.
You'll be surprised, BlueGreen efforts are contagious.
For more information on making your meetings green, visit
www.bluegreenmeetings.org and www.greenmeetings.info
To learn more about the destination's certified green properties, click here.
To learn more about the Go Zero program, click here.