The more you integrate environmental steps into your planning practices, the easier they become. Here are nine easy ways to go green:
- Create Standards
Establish environmental standards within your business. Get buy-in from your organization's management and/or your clientele. Share your standards with suppliers, vendors, and participants.
- Use Technology
Use media and electronic technology to cut down your paper needs. Create an informational Web site, offer electronic registration and confirmation, and advertise using the Internet and e-mail. Use podcasting, webcasting, and video streaming to alleviate travel.
- Choose a Local Destination
Pick a local or close venue to reduce the distance traveled by participants. Choose the host city closest to the participants' locale. Choose a venue or hotel that is near the airport; hotels and venues should also be within walking distance of each other or close to public transportation.
- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle — Change your office habits first
Ask your meeting venue to provide visible and accessible recycling services for paper, metal, plastic, and glass. If food is involved in your event, ask vendors about their composting regime or give-away programs. Order only what is needed.
- Volume Up.
Have food and beverage providers serve sugar, cream, and other condiments inbulk dispensers Find a hotel that uses dispensers for shampoo and lotions and that has a linen reuse program.
- Eat Healthfully and Locally
Plan meals using local, seasonal produce and free-range meats. Include vegetarian meals, and order only what you need. Also use local flora in your decorating, and keep flowers in pots versus cut so that you can use them as gifts and prizes.
- Use Paper Wisely
Publish printed materials on recycled paper using vegetable-based inks, and print on both sides of the pages. Buy chlorine-free paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled content.
- Save Energy
Coordinate with the event venue to ensure that lights, audiovisual equipment, and air conditioning will be turned off when rooms are empty. Change your office lighting to compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
- Spread the News!
Tell participants, speakers, and the media about your efforts You'll be surprised. Green can be contagious.
Source: Excerpted from The Complete Guide to Successful Event Planning by Shannon Kilkenny (2007, Atlantic Publishing) www.successfuleventplanning.com.