by By Michael J. Shapiro | October 01, 2009

1009NLR right chartGoing green might not be as frequent a topic of discussion as remaining in the black these days, but evidently sustainability efforts are still very much a factor for meeting professionals.

For two-thirds of planners (66 percent), a venue's green initiatives are either somewhat or very important factors in their selection process, according to an M&C survey of 131 meeting professionals conducted in late August. Fifty-six percent inquire about venue sustainability efforts on their requests for proposal, and an additional 15 percent plan to start asking this year.

Significantly, more than half of respondents (51 percent) have increased their focus on green meetings in the past year. Forty-four percent reported no change, with only five percent focusing less on green initiatives than a year ago.

Nearly one-third of respondents said they might spend a bit more to be green, while about one-quarter (24 percent) won't implement green policies that add to costs. Only 10 percent of respondents haven't discussed green policies yet.

In terms of realizing a return on these initiatives, only 22 percent said their cumulative green policies have saved their organizations money; an additional 37 percent, however, expect to see such savings in the future.

Nearly half of respondents (45 percent) attempt to source locally produced, organic and/or fair trade food and beverages for their events, while 72 percent would choose a hybrid vehicle when renting a car, if it did not cost more than a traditional vehicle. (This represents an 8 percent increase since we asked the same question two years ago.) An additional 10 percent would rent the hybrid, regardless of cost.

About one-fifth (21 percent) of respondents said they attempt to calculate a carbon footprint for their meetings and/or business travel programs. 



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