Green Meetings Are the New Black

As all seasoned planners know, putting together a great event involves more than simply going down your checklist and staying within your budget. An exceptional planner comes up with innovative ways to create high touch experiences for their attendees. A great way to do this is by staying up to date on industry trends and knowing when to incorporate those trends into your events.

There is one trend in particular that has been around for a while and looks like it may be here to stay: going green. Considered by many to be more than just a trend, the environmental movement has permeated almost every industry. This includes scientific, social and political organizations, as well as companies that are simply aware of their impact on the earth.

Some of you might be thinking that green event planning is reserved for certain types of organizations. Eco-friendly nonprofits, architectural firms focused on sustainability or political organizations. However that exclusivity is a thing of the past. Today, all kinds of companies are jumping on the green event bandwagon and you may want to, as well. Not only will it make your company look good, but it will make your attendees feel good about how they are spending their time.

So, want to get in on the green movement? While creating a green event may sound a bit daunting, there are a number of ways to plan an environmentally responsible program. A great way to start is by focusing on just one or two elements of your event. Below are a few places you can begin.

Contract with a Certified Property
One way to watch your program’s environmental footprint is by contracting with an environmentally conscious property. Many hotels and venues have renovated their facilities in order to be certified as green properties. Clean water regulation, energy efficiency and waste reduction are just some of the features that can help a property become certified. While there are numerous certifications available, a few to look for are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), Green Seal, Energy Star and STEP (Sustainable Travel International).

Create an Eco-Friendly Menu
You can always get creative with your F&B manager or caterer to create an eco-friendly menu. Think about using farm raised salmon, free range chicken and locally grown vegetables. Emphasize the importance of the ethical treatment of the animals you use, as well as a desire to buy locally produced grains, fruits, veggies, etc.

Gift Environmentally Conscious Products
Are you handing out swag bags or doing a VIP room drop? Consider partnering with local businesses that offer sustainable products. Search for a company that makes gifts out of reclaimed or recycled materials, or naturally derived substances. You can often find unique products that are unavailable at larger, more well-known companies. Plus, working with local business owners cuts down on the environmental impact that comes with shipping products from remote destinations.

Shelley Griffin

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