Environmentalism has always been at issue but I believe it has come into prominence more than ever in the last 20 years (as far as I know) as the world is “developed” and the population is increased. Earth’s natural resources are depleting and global warming started to affect all living creatures visibly. Scientists work hard to slow this period down and environmentalists are struggling to raise awareness for recycling or consuming less. As a result of these efforts, people are now more sensitive about this issue and many precautions are taken against environmental problems. We are now more familiar with the terms such as carbon foot print, greenhouse effect or CO2 emission.
We are pulling our weight and switch off our electronic devices rather than leaving them stand-by, consuming less-packaged products to produce less trash, recycle our rubbish, walk to short distances or use public transport, changing the bulbs to energy saving ones, plant trees and prefer local products. Although we know that our little efforts may be just a drop in the ocean, doing something is much more valuable than doing nothing. Well what can we do as a business traveler?
Every day, we hear something new about sustainable products or green activities. Business events sector has also taken considerable steps to struggle with the global warming and recently, green conferences and sustainable events have become the order of the day. Let’s take a closer look at this relatively new kind of event type and what we can do about it.
What is a green meeting?
A green meeting promises to minimize the negative effects caused by those events. From venue choice to food service or from the technologies that will be used to social affairs a green meeting is planned in details to make the event less harmful to the environment. Actually all green-claimed events may not be really green. They need to meet the Green Meetings Standards that Amy Spatrisano explains in her related blog post in detail.
When you reconsider an event that is attended by 1500 people in numbers, you will realize how crucial the role of green conferences in this case. At such an event, 37500 plates, 52500 napkins, 45000 cups and 54000 cans are used. Let’s not talk about the number of printed papers per person or the carbon foot print that is left by the attendees while travelling for these conferences. This being the case, attending green conferences as well as taking little precautions in our own way is vital.
What makes an event green?
The event’s venue and its facilities is the most important element to make the meeting green as the buildings produce 30% of total greenhouse gas emission in the world. Fortunately nearly all the prominent event venues are trying to achieve more and more in the name of sustainability on these days. For example it should be fully equipped with energy saving technologies, the food that is served in its restaurants should be sourced from local producers, it should use natural energy sources like the sun and the wind and it should be built of eco-friendly materials.
Accommodation and transportation
Travelling for business events and accommodation are another crucial point that should be paid attention. Don’t worry if the organizers did not nothing for reducing the carbon print that is caused by the transportation. You can still stay at the hotels that are located near to the event’s venue and use less vehicles (or maybe none) to reach to the the event.
Presentation and Marketing
The way of presenting an event and its marketing processes show how green an event is. Using online mediums rather than printing and delivering brochures would be much more valuable. Digital marketing plays an important role in this phase and smart phone applications or web portals may be pressed into service instead of printed registration brochures or introductory booklets.
Meeting materials are another way of producing more CO2 emission if not used effectively. Bunches of notebooks, pens, bags, envelopes, USB sticks and more are delivered to attendees and most of the time, these materials are not used. If the event that you attend had nothing to prevent this wastage, you can prefer not taking a conference kit that you do not need or at least start with taking notes on your phone or tablet rather than on a notebook.
Have you ever thought about the amount of food that are thrown away after the events? You’d better not to think. However, most event organizers are sensitive about this issue and develop solutions for this wastage. At a green event, the food that is delivered to the attendees should be less packages and be sourced from local producers.
Now that you have a general idea about green or sustainable events, your awareness may be raised and you are ready to urge the event organizers to organize more green events. However, there are already some great events that are held worldwide about sustainability that you may wish to attend. Here are 3 of them: