Bringing people together for meetings, often for multiple days at a time, can create a “host” of environmental impacts – from greenhouse gas emissions associated with air and ground travel, to the paper, plastic, and food waste associated with feeding attendees. In fact, Marriott Hotels, estimates that the average three-day meeting attended by 1,000 people produces more than 12 tons of trash, uses 200,000 kilowatts of power, and consumes 100,000 gallons of water (TaigaCompany).
Much of this waste and consequent environmental impact can be avoided by carefully planning and implementing a green plan, which will result in cost savings, better branding, and customer loyalty. According to the Center for Responsible Travel, “Going green” is one of the top trends in the meetings industry.
An increasing number of organizations have begun to adopt sustainable meeting practices. Some organizations call their meetings “green” when they offset their carbon emissions for attendee air travel, or serve vegetarian and seasonal food on reusable tableware. Others establish robust programs that include sustainability practices that encompass the majority of meeting aspects.
Organizing a green meeting doesn’t happen over a night, but there are a lot of simple and easy-to-execute actions you can take. Read more:
- The excellent two-part article, MICE and Sustainable Tourism in the Asia Pacific Region by Stewart Moore, CEO, EarthCheck
- How to Host a Sustainable, Carbon Neutral Conference or other Event by David Suzuki Foundation
- Sustainability Innovation in the Meetings Industry: 10 Tips to Go Green by the Center for Responsible Travel
- How to make a meeting greener by ConventionPlanit.com
- Tools for green meetings – a few tips from Helsinki Finland
- 10 green meeting tips from Holland