Kim Boriin, CMP, is greening his hotel contracts. The senior events marketing specialist at Guardian Investor Services LLC, New York, now has a clause “saying that we are concerned with sustainable business practices and want to know that you are, too.”

“Just raising awareness with your hotel gets the ball rolling,” said Boriin, during a seminar at the Motivation Show in Chicago, “Green Power: Green Meetings Strategies and Solutions,” moderated by Corporate Meetings and Incentives Editor Barbara Scofidio. Boriin was joined by two other panelists: Marge Anderson, associate director, Energy Center of Wisconsin, Madison, and Ron Vlasic, regional director of operations for Kimpton Hotels in Chicago. Anderson gave a big-picture update, including an analysis of corporate social responsibility initiatives, which she says are partly driven by “shame and the anticipation of carbon regulation, and also by companies seeing how they can better position their brand.”

Very few best practices and no standards exist for green meetings, Anderson said, but there is “big enthusiasm from the meetings industry. A mind-set shift is happening where hoteliers and destinations are starting to ask about green meetings, and that’s a really powerful fact.”

One hotel chain going the extra mile is Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, said Ron Vlasic. Kimpton began a sustainability program eight years ago in California and was the first chain to bring recycling waste bins into the guest rooms.

Kimpton’s vendors are required to be environmentally friendly as well—Kimpton hotels purchase only recycled paper and eco-friendly cleaning products. Partially used Aveda shampoo is donated to local shelters, which are then asked to recycle the little plastic containers when they’re empty.

“Planners can have a huge influence just by asking hotels one simple question: Do you have a green program?” said Vlasic.