While you might not have control over choosing the destination for your next business trip, you can make your stay more responsible by checking some eco-friendly facts.
Start with checking the Arcadis Sustainable Cities index, and the destination’s website for sustainability features. Tourism Vancouver, for example, has a section on its site dedicated to sustainable tourism. As well, many cities offer a variety of green initiatives such as themed weeks or mini festivals, and food recycling.
If you are attending a MICE event, be sure to ask your event organiser questions about the event, such as:
- Does the event have a sustainability policy?
- Have you communicated the sustainability commitment to stakeholders?
- Is the event environmentally certified?
- What types of environmental practices are in place?
Look for ways to incorporate local traditional culture in meetings or conventions (example of Kyoto Culture for meetings Subsidy). Engage and support local communities by visiting farmers markets or choosing dining options that use locally grown products.
If you plan on exploring the destination on a guided tour, ask your tour operator or guide to give details of established environmental guidelines that minimize the impact of tourists on the environment, culture and community. Remember to be respectful of the destination and its natural resources by ensuring the right waste disposal and recycling whenever possible. Some smart destinations even offer apps to report litter to improve the urban environment. You may also want to find out which buildings have received USGBC’s LEED certification – exploring the listed buildings at your destination can reveal some interesting tips.
When getting around at the destination, the journey itself matters. Check with your accommodation or meeting organizers for shuttle bus services if any, to help avoid using taxis. Choose local, public transport to get around or shared shuttle services, particularly when travelling to and from the airport. Look for alternative transportation services such as cycle-sharing (example of Chicago’s Divy). If you are a group of people you may also want to consider using car-sharing services like Uber Pool.
If you are inspired and would like your city to become a green meetings destination, check out the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s criteria for destinations, and the EarthDay.org resource for Green Cities.
For more guidelines on hosting green events, check out TCEB’s Sustainable Events Guide.
Read more about being a responsible business traveler: PATA Responsible Business Travel Guidelines.