CLAUSE: Green Your Hotel

“Group expects Hotel will identify, recommend, and use as many environmentally responsible practices as possible and feasible for Group's meeting. These practices should include, but are not limited to, waste management, recycling, energy use, use of renewable resources, and conservation of nonrenewable resources. Hotel agrees to provide and/or implement the following at no additional charge to Group:

  • Recycling program (materials to be recycled: paper, plastic, glass, aluminum cans, cardboard, and grease);
  • Recycling containers in hotel common areas, unless hotel sorts and recycles;
  • Towel and sheet reuse program;
  • Consumable amenities will not be replaced daily unless they are gone. Use of soap and shampoo dispensers would be optimal;
  • Hotel housekeeping staff instructed to shut blinds and turn down heat/air conditioning during the day in rooms while attendees are gone;
  • Use of glass or china (nondisposable) catering plates, cups, and glasses;
  • No Styrofoam used;
  • Condiments (including sugar, cream, butter, cream cheese, etc.) served in bulk containers, not individual servings;
  • Shade-grown coffee served at conference functions;
  • Cloth napkins used when possible; coasters used instead of cocktail napkins;
  • All leftover food donated to a local food bank;
  • All table scraps donated to a local farm or composted; and
  • Use of cleaning products that do not introduce toxins into the air or water.

If Hotel is unable to provide any of the above requested environmental practices during Group's meeting dates, Hotel will inform Group in writing at least thirty (30) days prior to meeting dates. Hotel warrants that any environmental programs in place at the time of contract signing will be in place at the time of the event, and Hotel agrees to cooperate with enhancing any such programs as needed to accommodate Group's environmental practice requests, above. Failure to adhere to the stated green policies may result in compensation concessions for Group.”

(This clause was adapted from language provided by Meeting Strategies Worldwide.)

EFFECT: You'll Clean Up

The primary objective of this clause is to give the hotel incentives to engage in more environmentally responsible practices. It may require a departure from typical ways of running a hotel, and it may require additional staff training or cost. Still, if meeting professionals begin to insist on these practices and use a clause such as this as part of their basis for facility-selection decisions, more hotels will begin engaging in environmentally sound practices.

Tyra W. Hilliard, Esq., CMP ( is an lawyer and assistant professor of event and meeting management at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

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