Amy Spatrisano Arranging Green Meetings

One person makes a difference

September 01, 2006

Individuals can make a difference regardless of whether the meeting itself is green by following some of these practices.

Before leaving home: 

·         turn down your thermostat on your water heater

·         adjust your AC/heat thermostat

·         pack a nightlight so hotel lights are not needed throughout the night

·         bring your own water bottle or coffee mug.

During the meeting: 

·         use public transportation

·         pass along your newspaper to someone else or make sure it’s recycled

·         request the hotel does not change your sheets or towels every day during your stay or use the CERES guest request card (see resources below).

·         carry a reusable drink container

·         recycle your materials in appropriate bins

·         turn off your hotel room lights, heat/air and television when you leave the room.

Green Meeting Practices: Fringe Behavior or Mainstream Practice

August 28, 2006

By Amy Spatrisano, CMP

Many of you  may understand the merits – economic and environmental – of producing “green meetings.”   You may even be incorporating green practices in your meeting management like requesting recycling at your events, using more technology versus paper, and requesting organic/local food.   But, are your practices or requests consistent from meeting to meeting?   Have you developed or implemented strategies and guidelines to consistently green your meetings?   Do you measure your results to track improvements or economic savings?   Are your members, attendees, clients asking that more environmentally responsible practices be implemented, but you’re not sure how to begin?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, read on to learn how to implement the MeetGreen SM Five Step Solution.   This approach entails establishing commitment, developing guidelines, communicating objectives, negotiating practices and measuring results.

The first step of establishing your organization’s commitment to greening is crucial to how successful your efforts will be.   Begin by understanding how greening your meetings will fit into your company or client’s mission and values. 

The second step is to develop minimum guidelines to incorporate in your meetings.   Criteria should be created for all of the vendors used like convention centers, hotels, caterers, transportation and even convention and visitors bureaus.   The Convention Industry Council’s Green Meetings Report offers helpful guidelines in eight areas of meeting management to get you started.

Third, c ommunications, communications, communications should be underscored.   Expectations for your meeting can only happen when there is clear communication, especially if greening practices are new.    Be sure to say the same thing to all of the parties from your own organization to the vendor to the attendees to the media .    Let them know why you’re doing it differently, why it’s important.

The fourth step is negotiating green practices.   Many of your greening practices may be new to suppliers you’re using.   Know what practices you’re willing to compromise on and which ones you’re not.   Also, be aware of which practices are easily implemented and are cost saving or cost neutral.   For example, you may encounter resistance or refusal to donate food by your food and beverage provider.   The fact is that the national Good Samaritan Law was written to support the donation of food in good faith .

The last step is measuring your results.   Do not miss this step.   Tracking both your environmental and economic results provides the ability to quantify your results.   For example, track the pounds of waste recycled or how much money was saved by eliminating conference bags. Ask your attendees for feedback. Did the attendees notice and like any of the changes?   Do they have suggestions for next time?

Then, publish what you’ve measured.   People love data.   Tell your attendees, use the information as post press on your website or marketing for next time, share it with your team or organization and tell your suppliers.   Sharing the measured results is a great way to enroll and engage people to want more.

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