The Book on Green Meetings

From the people at Portland, Ore.'s MeetGreen, one of the first third-party firms to focus on sustainable meetings, comes a new book, Meet Better: 167 Easy Ways to Make Your Events More Environmentally and Socially Responsible.

"Meet Better was conceived as my fellow authors and I sat discussing how industry professionals are still looking for that easy checklist to get started," says Nancy J. Zavada, CMP, who wrote the book with Mariela McIlwraith, CMP, CMM, and Shawna McKinley.

The contents are broken into three parts: core elements (including F&B planning, F&B service, site selection and waste management), program elements (such as meeting design, trade shows, fairs and exhibitions, community service projects and sustainability-focused sponsorship opportunities), and next steps, covering sustainability strategies and how to create an event-sustainability policy. Easy-to-digest graphics make great points, like info bites showing the results that initiatives can achieve for a trade show and a chart showing which signage materials are best to use. And, yes, 167 points are made along the way, from #1, "Donate leftover food. Some venues or caterers may have concerns about liability, however, many laws protect food donors. Contact the food bank to confirm local regulations and practice safe food handling"; to #167, "Include sustainability results in post-event reports."

Zavada has found that talk about standards, certification and other sustainable-meetings details stops some planners from even beginning the process. "So we decided to give them easy checklists with resources and infographics," she says.

Advances continue to be made in sustainable meetings, Zavada notes, and her clients are integrating green-meeting practices -- especially ones that save money, like eliminating water bottles and paper. She adds: "It has been disappointing, however, to attend industry events lately and find a lack of sustainable practices."

Meet Better is available for $19.95 from MeetGreen.