Go green or go home

Still thinking about those resolutions for 2017? Well, I guess we all are. So why not keep up the good work this year and grab a hold of these resolutions. If one of your resolutions is greening your meeting, keep reading as this time, I will share my thoughts on sustainability in meetings – and there is still a lot we can do in that matter.

We all know that micro plastic in the oceans is a big problem today. The oceans are polluted, fish are dying, and whales are found stuffed with plastic parts they have eaten thinking it is food. That is a sad sad story and we all have a responsibility in helping change that.

And micro plastic is only one sad story. There are other environmental and ethical issues in the World, and it is a question of thinking in sustainable alternatives for your entire event.

So, what can we do – and why is it important to address this in the events industry? First of all, I am a firm believer that even doing a little matters in the big picture. Second, I think that we sometimes get caught in the moment when we attend an event and forget to act responsibly: We believe that we need that program and list of participants on paper, we think we need to over-indulge in food (‘After all, I’m only at this conference once’), or we desperately need that bag to bring home all of the glittery brochures, we have received from the exhibitors (which will without a doubt end up in the trash within 10 minutes of returning home!).

Furthermore, we can take actions like:

  • Serving tab water instead of bottled water. I know that might not be possible all over the World, but where it is possible to do so, it is a no brainer
  • Reducing or refraining from distributing handouts, whether it is programs, brochures, or exhibitor catalogues it is not necessary. There a hundreds of technological possibilities out there. Try them out and find the one that suits you and your participants. I am sure there is one for you too.
  • Reducing food waste by serving plated lunches and dinners instead of buffets – and often tapas style food is enough (for example small dishes you can eat while networking)
  • Enhancing the experience it is to take part in your event so that it is not necessary to give the delegates a gift – let the experience be the memorabilia they take home. I know that sounds a little hippie, but today most people buy the things they need/want. And materialism is so last season :o)
  • Thinking about making a contribution to a charity of choice – or making it part of the program that the delegates take part in some sort of charity work (e.g. volunteering at a dog shelter, soup kitchen, or cleaning up a park).

I plan on greening my meetings further in 2017. How about you? Share your greening ideas in the comments below.

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