­­­­­­­Sustainability continues to be at the forefront of conversation within the meetings and events industry. From small executive retreats to large conferences, meeting professionals are looking for venues, vendors and practices that can reduce carbon footprints and promote eco-friendly practices. Smart Meetings found these popular reads that can provide guidance to meeting professionals who consciously work toward producing sustainable meetings and environmentally conscious events and conferences.

purple and green book cover with two microphones in bottom right cornerMeet Better—167 Easy Ways

–  Mariela McIlwraith, Shawna McKinley and Nancy J. Zavada

“Meet Better” breaks down the elements of an event and gives clear tips on how meeting professionals can make sustainable decisions. For instance, food and beverage: There are tips on donating leftover food, how to carefully order food to reduce waste, and choose caterers and vendors that support seasonal fare from local vendors. The book also offers advice about venues, on topics such as choosing LEED-certified buildings and ensuring venues use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, as well as discussing vendors and local talent with CVBs and DMOs to find options that promote sustainable practices.

Read More: Sustainability Tools for Easier Green Planning

Sustainability does not only refer to environmental issues. It’s an umbrella term that also covers social issues such as diversity and inclusion. Part two of Meet Better, Program Elements, gives advice on meeting design, such as designing a program that fosters inclusive and diverse participation and being aware of conflicts with religious holidays. The book encourages meeting professionals to realize how important it is to not only recognize these potential participation barriers but gives simple solutions to work towards progress.

For both environmental and social responsibility, “Meet Better” is a practical and pragmatic read that helps meeting professionals tackle extremely complex issues for a better events industry. This excerpt from the book’s introduction articulates this idea best:

“This book is all about getting started. These are the easy, low-hanging fruits to make your event more environmentally and socially responsible. This book is not intended to be all-encompassing but is intended to help you to take your first step (or 167 first steps). Hopefully, it will help spark an excitement for sustainable events that will encourage you to continue on the path.”

two hands holding a green earth on blue book coverSimple Steps to Green Meetings and Events: The Professional’s Guide to Saving Money and the Earth

–  Amy Spatrisano and Nancy J. Wilson

 This 2007 book proves Spatrisano and Wilson and their company, Meeting Strategies Worldwide, were at the forefront of the conversation surrounding sustainability in the meetings and events industry. Their book “Simple Steps” focuses on exciting everyone involved in an event about the practices that can save money and protect the environment, the book is a practical reference for meeting profs who are looking to produce a green event.

Read More: Your Complete Guide to Sustainability

stone pathway on book coverThe Complete Guide To Greener Meetings and Events

–  Samuel DeBlanc Goldblatt

To do business better, meeting professionals must incorporate sustainability, inclusion and diversity into their business practices. “The Complete Guide to Greener Meetings and Events” is divided into three parts to promote this idea: Innovation, Conservation and Education. From smaller events for arts industries to corporate conferences, this guidebook will help meeting profs produce events responsibly.

This article appears in the May/June 2024 issues. You can subscribe to the magazine here.