by Lisa Grimaldi | March 01, 2005

The following checklist was adapted from the Green Meetings Report, created by the Green Meetings Task Force of the McLean, Va.-based Convention Industry Council;www.conventionindustry.org

City Selection

  • Consider destinations compatible with the event’s purpose and the demographics of the attendees. 
  • Ask the area’s convention and visitors bureau and local destination management companies to recommend venues and suppliers that have environmental practices in place.
  • Consider cities with mass-transit systems that connect major venues with each other and with major transportation hubs (i.e., airports, train stations). 
  • Consider off-site events that involve attendees in some of the area’s natural attractions but with minimal impact on the environment.
  • Hotel Selection

  • Inform the property of the environmental strategies the event is considering, and ask about the property’s environmental practices. 
  • Include a clause in the contract that requires the property to comply with the event organizer’s environmental requests.
  • Consider properties willing to offer the following:
    " A recycling program for paper, metal, glass and plastic
    " Staff instructions to shut blinds, turn off lights and turn down heat/air conditioning when rooms are vacant
    " Guest rooms with dispensers for soaps and shampoos
    " A linen and towel reuse program
  • Food and Beverage

  • Inform the catering manager of your environmental goals; ask about the venue’s environmental practices. 
  • Include a clause in the contract that requires the caterer/F&B department’s commitment to comply with the host organization’s environmental requests. 
  • In the contract, specify that the caterer must agree to:
    " Avoid using disposable cutlery, dishes, linens or decorations. If disposables are used, they should be composted and/or biodegradable.
    " Provide condiments, beverages and other food items in bulk.
    " Use locally produced seasonal or organic food and beverages when possible.
    " Serve only seafood harvested in environmentally safe ways; offer vegetarian meal selections as an alternative.
    " Donate extra food to a local food bank or soup kitchen, and compost or donate table scraps to farms.
  • Trade Shows

  • Inform exhibiting organizations of the event’s environmental strategies.
  • Include a clause in the exhibitor agreement that confirms their commitment to comply with the event’s environmental requests. 
  • Include a clause in the exhibitor agreement requiring exhibitors to:
    " Minimize use of collateral materials.
    " Minimize packaging (and recycle when appropriate).
    " Try to use recycled or consumable products as giveaways.
    " Provide materials via PDA downloads.
  • Inform facilities and decorators of the environmental strategies the event is considering, and ask about their environmental practices. 
  • Include a clause in the agreement with the facility and/or decorator to:
    " Provide recycling for cardboard, pallets, paper, cans, plastic, glass and other recyclable materials.
    " Ensure cleanup crews are trained to keep recyclable and reusable items out of the garbage.
    " Choose decorations and display materials that can be reused or recycled.