CBI Scene Blog

Put One (Green) Foot In Front Of The Other – Sustainability in Meeting Planning

Posted by Sabrina Delio on Feb 27, 2018 4:37:00 PM

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With the potential for impact across numerous fronts, staying green offers the opportunity for businesses to make a real difference – especially when it comes to meeting planning. Check out a few tips for reducing your carbon footprint, while still executing successful and efficient meetings.

How Far-Reaching are the Effects of Travel and Meetings?

Statistics at the federal level provide an eye-opening snapshot of the extensiveness of travel. On average, 93,000 federal employees travel each day to about 8,000 locations in the United States. The following tips provide jumping off points that can help make meetings and travel greener.

1. Location Matters

When selecting a location for a meeting or event, aim for a place that minimizes the distance that attendees and presenters need to travel. A good rule of thumb is to choose a location near the airport and mass transportation to make it easier and more ecologically friendly. When scouting for general areas, take into consideration the green services that are offered. Tapping into these resources can make it easier to have a green meeting.

2. Choose Accommodations Carefully

When it comes to choosing a hotel or other lodging, look for options that are located within walking or biking distance to event venues, food options and sources of entertainment. Barring that, ensure that public transportation is available.

Look for a hotel that has a dedicated "green" program already in place. Some features to look for include fluorescent lighting, low-flow water features, recycling bins in the room and automatic controls for the lighting and HVAC system. Checking in online not only saves time and is convenient. It also helps reduce paper and its waste.

3. Food and Beverage Ideas

When stocking an event or meeting with food and beverage items, keep their reusability factor in mind. For example, instead of paper napkins, use cloth. Replace disposable utensils, plates and cups with those that are reusable. Use pitchers or other reusable containers for water instead of providing plastic bottles. Condiments, creamer and sugar can be provided in reusable dishes instead of individual packets. If possible, plan the menu around food that is locally sourced to reduce the environmental costs associated with it. Surplus food can often be donated to food banks and/or charities in the local area.

4. General Policies that can be Implemented

Go all-electronic, if possible, by enabling online registration. Send confirmation of registration electronically via email as well. Use mobile devices, such as tablets, smartphones and/or laptops, to check attendees in and reduce paper.

Be smart when printing and use both sides of the paper. Choose recycled paper and print with ink that is soy-based. Recycle plastic badges as well as paper inserts. Encourage the use of electronic distribution and presentation of marketing materials and other documentation as much as possible.

The four tips above are simple -- yet effective -- ones that can be implemented easily within a company. They can also be applied to larger events seamlessly so the "greening" process reaches far beyond a single company.

Join us at Pharma Forum 2018 for more tips and tricks!

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Topics: meeting professionals, Meeting Management