We are all more conscious than ever about sustainability (recycling at home seems to be second nature now), and in spite of the recession, ways to make meetings more ‘green’ are still firmly on the lips of the UK’s corporate kings…and so it should be. Click: MEETPIE
So as a professional event planner, it’s my job to come up with ideas to minimise impact on the environment, without compromising on quality, creativity and delivery.
Here are a few thoughts on simple and effective ways to keep your meetings on the green road:
– Don’t meet face to face if you don’t have to. Use technology to your advantage with video conferencing suites or SKYPE technology, and hold a number of smaller, locally based meetings rather than making everyone travel to one event.
-Select a venue that operates in an environmentally friendly manner. This could be a venue with a strong energy and natural resource saving plan such as low energy lighting and water conservation, uses solar and renewable energy, recycles water to use in their gardens and uses eco-friendly cleaning materials.
– Find accommodation that also pursues an environmental approach – many luxury hotel chains now offer this. Ask for recycling bins, optional sheet and towel replacement, energy-efficient lighting, and water-conserving showerheads, toilets and tap aerators in the delegate’s bedrooms.
– Utilise some of the wide variety of recycled papers for invitations, name badges, menus and delegate note pads. These can come in some amazing colours and textures. Plus, you can also shred and recycle these paper materials after the conference. Use vegetable based inks for any printing.
Or go paperless completely by using email invitations and registration, I-pad or tablet technology as a notepad for the day, and use an edible place card such as an iced biscuit to enjoy with coffee.
– Use name badge holders that can be re-used at a future conference and ask delegates to return these after the event.
-Minimise the amount of delegate notes by simply saving everything to a branded memory stick/CD and providing this at the end of the event, or post on the company/event intranet site.
– For a corporate dinner try to source all your food and drink locally. Why not consider serving a local brew with your meal instead of wine, and choose one of the high quality English sparkling wines instead of champagne for the drinks reception?
Or consider the growing range of Fairtrade food and drinks available. Many conference venues now offer Fairtrade as an option. Think sustainable seafood and Rain Alliance in your food and coffee choices too.
It is also worth considering the food waste associated with conferences so ask delegates to pre-order menus which allow you to only purchase the food required and use a water cooler in the meeting room rather than bottled water.
– For a delegate dinner in the evening, opt for table centres which are re-useable, edible or sustainable such as beautiful beeswax candles. Fruit and nuts can also be used to great effect in table décor, with delegates encouraged to eat or take home after the event.
– Offer delegates a jute “bag for life” to keep their conference information and corporate gifts in, rather than a hoard of plastic wallets and bags.
– If your event is in the UK, encourage delegates to car share or travel by train rather than fly. Offer environmentally friendly transport during your event such as mini-coaches using bio fuels rather than a raft of individual taxis.
– If your event is a European incentive, adopt one of the carbon off-set schemes for your journey and help to minimise the impact of your carbon footprint.