Sustainable meetings: numbers tell the tale of green

In the last weeks we have explored a lot of options to make meetings and events more sustainable. Every step that you take towards green meetings, is a step in the right direction. But in the end you might want to know what the result of all your efforts looks like: numbers tell the tale. Therefore you will have to measure; even more if you are aiming for the Green Meetings Award. But how can we measure sustainability of an event? In this final post on green meetings I collected some suggestions on how to start with measurement.

Blog Holland Green Meetings Measure baseline

Establish a baseline

Before you start changing anything, you need a baseline to compare your future results against. Do you want to save energy and water? Would you like to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by transportation? The baseline serves as a starting point to set goals for future meetings and tells you whether you are making progress and how effective your actions are. Thus, check the green performance of your recent meetings before you get start them.

Blog Holland Green Meetings Measure Travel

Counting kilometers

As I explained in my previous posts, transportation and travel cause CO2 emissions that contribute to global warming. You can reduce these emissions by minimizing the the total travel and transportation distances. Monitor the travel kilometers for your delegates and transportation of your suppliers. You can use the Carbon Footprint Calculator for this. If you are planning to offset your CO2 emissions you can include the compensated kilometers in your measurements.

Blog Holland Green Meetings Measure Catering

Check the food

In my blogpost about green catering I discussed the main aspects of green food. Besides limiting the transportation issue by working with local foods, you can measure the percentage of seasonal products used. How many of the purchased products were labelled Fair Trade, biological or organic? All these numbers indicate how green your catering is.

Blog Holland Green Meetings Measure garbage

The weight of waste

Of course you can simply measure the total amount of waste your meeting produced per delegate. But there are more things to measure. What about the packaging material you purchased together with the supplies? How many items were reusable or recyclable? Including these factors in your measurement will give you more particular insights into your waste management.

Show no show

It is a frustrating issue but you will also have to attend to the no show percentage of your meeting. No show is an important indication for the amount of wasted resources.

Blog Holland Green Meetings Measure olympics

The ISO 14001 Standard

Nobody bars you from establishing you own green parameters. However, using existing, internationally acknowledged standards makes your measurements more transparent and trustworhty. One example is the ISO 14001 standard which was used to achieve the sustainability goals of the Olympics 2012 in London. One of their targets was reducing water consumption by 40% and carbon by 50%. They duly delivered at 58% and 60% respectively. This isn’t just great news for the environment but also reduced costs massively. On the other hand, the measurements indicate where sustainability can be improved. For London they showed that the target for use of renewable energy was missed by 9 percent.

Stop guessing!

In my opinion, measuring is a crucial part of green meetings. What do you think. Do you have any experiences with green measurments? Please share them with me.

Sustainable meetings: 5 tips to reduce no show for your next event

No show is one of the most frustrating issues for every meeting planner: you put lots of time and efforts into researching, organising and promoting your event and are rewarded with disappointment when a fair share of your participants simply don’t show up. No show can destroy all your good amibitions for a green meeting. For every cost-free business event a no show rate of 10-30% is handled, which means that a lot of working material and food is wasted for nothing. High time to tackle the no show problem. I collected 5 tips for you.

Blog Holland No Show Meeting

1. Be an early bird

Send the invitiation for your event early, giving people a chance to check their agendas and think about whether they want to participate. Basically, you can send a first invitation as soon as you know the date, time and location of your event. You can send a more detailed invitation later. Keep your message simple and short and focus on the main reason and objective of the event.

2. Remind, respond, recall

Confirm registrations as soon as you receive them. That creates commitment and gives your guest the feeling that he is expected. Keep reminding your participants of the upcoming event and mention the opportunity to cancel the registration clearly. Make cancelling as easy as possible and provide the option as long as possible. Call those guests that have not answered your invitation yet and give them the feeling that they are expected and welcome.


3. Create anticipation

Keep you participants up to date about your efforts and share your enthusiasm as the event day comes closer. Create a Facebookpage or a hashtag for your event and invite your participants to follow your arrangements. Don’t forget to tell them how they can benefit from your event. What’s in it for them? Social Media are also a great way to connect your guests with each other. A higher visibility of your guests generates a social control that makes them less likely not to show up.

4. Don’t spoil the party

A few days before the event you can mail your participants the last chance to cancel the registration. Remind them about the consequences of no show. The short film above explains that perfectly.
Be strict with no show participants and exclude them from future events or put them on a waiting list. Even if your event is for free you can send them a bill for the wasted material and donate the money to a charity. On the other hand you can reward your audience with a nice giveaway or priority for the next event.

5. Now it’s up to you

These are just a few ideas to reduce the no show rate for your events. If you have other tips to add you are more than welcome to share them. For more information about green meetings in Holland you might want to take a look at the “Green Meetings” section of my website.