Although my favourite colour is orange, I can see how green is the colour of the future of our industry. As a consequence of the increased attention for environmental problems, most industrial sectors aim for more eco-friendly and sustainable products. Needless to say that the meeting industry is affected by this development too. Green meetings are events that incorporate environmental considerations. What are these considerations? And how could green meetings be beneficial to the industry?
How do meetings affect the environment?
When people come together for a congress or an event there will necessarily be travel and garbage. Both can have a great impact on the environment.
Travel and transport
Participants of a meeting have to travel to the destination by car, by train or by plane. This costs fossil burning and causes CO2 emissions. You can add the emissions for the transportation of all goods required for the meeting. All these emissions contribute to the greenhouse effects. Therefore green meetings aim to achieve more climate-friendly travel and transport.
Human beings need to eat. The origin and quality of the food you offer them can make a great difference. We are well aware of the bad reputation of factory farming, pesticides and fishing. The catering provided by green meetings should contribute to more animal welfare and eco-friendly farming.
Wherever people come and go they produce waste – and frequently they produce it in huge amounts. Meetings often lead to much extra garbage in the form of paper and plastic wrappings. Another objective for green meetings is to keep waste production to a minimum to reduce air and water pollution.
It is one of the most annoying things that could happen to your meeting. Participants, who accept and confirm your invitation only to cancel it last-minute. All materials and provision you prepared for them can be thrown away – unused. Green meetings attempt to prevent no show and the wasting of resources as much as possible.
Benefits of green meetings
Moral obligations and social pressure might be reasons to aim for green meetings. But there are more advantages to sustainability:
Good for your purse
Green meetings can have economical benefits for the event planner. It is a simple calculation: if you save natural resources you also save money. Invited guests who cancel their participantion on time prevent costs for the event planner and waste of material. Many requisites can be reused for following meetings or sold to other event planners. Both options reduce costs and waste.
Good for your image
Being eco-friendly can give a great boost to your good reputation as a company or event planner. Showing responsibility for the environmant is probably the best PR you can wish for. Therefore, going green also automatically provides planners with a competitive advantage by opening up the eco-friendly target market.
How to turn this into action?
I can only hope you share my views on the importance of greener and more sustainable meetings. In case you want to take a next step, you might want to take a look at the “Green Meetings” section of my website.You will find practical tips, a green venue finder and a Carbon Foorprint Calculator for your next meeting or event.