by Sarah J.F. Braley | August 01, 2008

Every day, the “green” movement reaches further into the meetings world. To gauge how planners are approaching the trend, a number of questions on the subject were added to the 2008 Meetings Market Report survey.

When asked how a destination’s reputation for being environmentally friendly weighed on their selections, 49 percent of corporate planners of events other than incentives said the area’s eco-friendly reputation was a very important factor in their decision, while only 24 percent of incentive planners said it was significant. Just a quarter of convention planners said a destination’s reputation was a major factor, and even fewer of those who plan other association meetings, 22 percent, considered this important.

An unspoiled environment was a significant factor for just 37 percent of the corporate meeting professionals surveyed, but almost half (48 percent) of the incentive planners considered it important. On the association side, more convention planners (35 percent) than planners of other association meetings (28 percent) said a clean and unspoiled environment was a major factor.

Considering how high-profile the notion of social responsibility has become in the corporate world, it’s not surprising that corporate planners are more conscious of green practices when choosing facilities than their association counterparts. More than half of the corporate respondents (51 percent) and 42 percent of the incentive respondents said green practices at a facility were an important factor. Only 17 percent of association meeting planners and 18 percent of convention planners said it was a significant consideration when choosing a facility or hotel. Planners generally are happy to implement green practices if the facility already offers them. Nine percent of corporate planners and 14 percent of association planners always arrange it so attendees can recycle papers, cans and bottles at events, but 41 percent of the corporate sample and 53 percent of association respondents do so only if the facility already offers the service.

When conferences are in progress, more than half of both groups (54 percent corporate and 57 percent association) make sure lights and air conditioning are turned off whenever meeting rooms are not in use.