Making Your Next Conference More Sustainable
Sustainability has been a topic for YEARS – and with the next generation of planners and conference attendees; it is going to be increasingly important. How are you, as an event professional, going to meet the demand of hosting a “green meeting”? Here are a 7 tips to help you get started:
Where You Meet Should Be Green:
Location, Location, Location: Yes, venues are one of the most important things to think about in this process. When selecting your venue, or your host city, ask questions:
- What are their green meeting/sustainability practices?
- What certifications do they hold?
- Are they members of any green meeting programs? What is the status of their review?
- What programs do they have in place at the venue to help you achieve your sustainability goals?
Need to Move People Offsite? Set up Group Transport: Do not leave it to them to figure out their own way there, unless it really is within walking distance. Set up group transportation, or prepare for public transportation in advance.
Food & Beverage:
Cut Down on Food Waste: Nothing drives me more crazy than ordering more food than needed – when providing guarantees, review the timing and registration lists; and be reasonable with your numbers (how many people are REALLY going to get out of bed for your 7AM breakfast the morning after a late night social event?). Confirm with your venue that you are able to make adjustments to actual numbers given enough notice while onsite – for example, if you are opening registration on Wednesday, and the gala dinner is Friday night, can you confirm who will be leaving early while they pick up their name badge? Are you able to update those numbers?
Who You Work With:
Hire the Right Partners: You should not be doing this in a silo – your partners (venue, catering, audio-visual, entertainment, transportation, décor, etc) should all be on site when it comes to creating an impactful experience for attendees, and being sustainable all at once.
Go Paperless: Save a forest by cutting down or completely eliminating printed programs, and use an event app.
Donate Unused Material: Does your group have items that are leftover that a local school, or charity? Ask the venue, or the DMO for advice on how to handle this in the next city.
Involve Your Participants: Don’t just leave it in your court – encourage your participants to be a part of the process! Our friend Natalie Lowe, CMM at the Sustainable Planner has tips for encouraging delegates to be sustainable here.