When meeting planners for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are sourcing a meeting, their RFPs include 14 questions designed to gauge a property's environmental awareness and the steps it is taking toward sustainability. The EPA is working on creating minimum environmental standards for meeting hotels. (Visit www.epa.gov/oppt/greenmeetings for updates.) Consider asking these questions on your next RFP:
- Do you have a recycling program? Please describe.
- Do you have a linen/towel reuse option that is communicated to guests?
- Do guests have easy access to public transportation or a shuttle service?
- Are lights and AC turned off when rooms are not in use? How do you ensure this?
- Do you use bulk dispensers for beverages, condiments, and food?
- Do you provide reusable utensils, napkins, and tablecloths when serving food and beverages?
- Do you have an energy-efficiency program? Please describe.
- Do you have a water conservation program? Please describe.
- Do you have paperless check-in and checkout?
- Do you use recycled and recyclable products?
- Do you source food from local growers?
- Do you use biobased and biodegradable products?
- Do you train your employees on these green initiatives?
- What other environmental initiatives are in place?
In addition to asking the questions, include a clause in your RFP that plainly states your intention to lessen your meeting's environmental impact.