Most planners want to do the right thing for the environment
when organizing their meetings and events: They hire "green" vendors,
use products that are friendly to the environment and book eco-conscious
facilities. But are these suppliers, and your events, truly green?
there are some simple actions you can take to promote bona fide green
practices at your meetings, trade shows and events. To ensure that your
good intentions -- and dollars -- are well-placed, consider the
Hire a green team. You have a true advantage when you know your
vendors are working clean and green, too. The best way to source
eco-conscious vendors is via a prequalified national list of certified
green companies such as the Green Business League. On
the site, planners can find essential vendor partners such as
decorators, production firms and transportation companies.
terrific resource is thegreenbrideguide.com, which,
along with all of the wedding advice, lists green suppliers for special
events. For both conventional and unconventional vendor needs, check out
for information on the best, brightest and newest green specialty
• Beware of "greenwashing." This refers to a
marketing ploy that positions firms with poor environmental records as
ambassadors of green. Some notorious greenwashers are energy firms; in
the meetings industry, transportation companies and food suppliers might
employ the practice. Thegreenlifeonline.org
(formerly Earth Day Resources) lists a number of firms that fall into
• Buy local, seasonal produce and products. By
purchasing local produce, you get fresher, more healthful options, and
you eliminate wasteful transportation from distant sources. By sourcing
in-season products, you avoid wasteful energy used for storage,
packaging, handling and temperature control.
• Cut out all
bottled water. Instead, supply nontoxic, reusable bottles, or
encourage attendees to bring their own reusable bottles.
Choose a green facility. Meet in a venue that leverages local
resources and has a robust recycling program. San Francisco's Moscone
for example, is a pioneer in green convention center practices. To find
other like-minded facilities, the Environmental Protection Agency lists
green meeting venues at epa.gov/oppt/greenmeetings.
Reduce or eliminate signage. You can certainly do without vinyl
banners, in particular. If you do use signage, make sure it is general
enough to be reused for future events.
• Rethink site visits. Do
you need to travel to inspect a property? If two people were going to
go, can the task be handled by one? Find ways to lower your carbon
footprint -- the amount of carbon emitted by a person, business or event
in a given period. To calculate your footprint, go to calculator.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx.
• Limit printed materials. Do you really need to
publish a lengthy program guide or directory of exhibitors? Even if you
use soy ink and recycled paper, the documents might not be necessary.
Better yet: Allow attendees to download the program from your website
before the show or at on-site kiosks.
Another idea: Load the
program onto USB flash drives and distribute them at registration. You
can even get drives made of bamboo to green the process further.
Companies such as Imprint
Items or Everything
USB carry green thumb drives that can be customized with your
company logo or event name.