Contributing Bloggers

Planning Eco-Friendly Meetings and Events: Part 2

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If you haven’t already, have a read of last month’s Part 1 of Planning Eco-friendly Meetings and Events. This post shares even more helpful tools and suggestions on how our industry can collectively reign in, and reduce, the environmental damage associated with hosting events. The more we know about what impacts the earth negatively, the more we can do to lessen its effect.

Food For Thought

Because sustainability is just as much about what you serve as it is how  you serve it, let’s take a moment to talk about meat.

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Many of us love meat, but it does come with a hidden environmental cost. Did you know that meat requires far more water to produce than other plant-based proteins? For example, 1 kg of beef requires 15,415L of water versus 1 kg of lentils requiring only 5,875L of water.

As mentioned in Part 1, water scarcity is a legitimate risk to human life — the world — if we do not start to better manage our footprint. The good news is, vegetarian and vegan eating is not only now mainstream, but a coveted dining experience, even among meat eaters, as restaurants and chefs escalate plant-based ingredients and culinary techniques to a whole new gastronomic level to keep a diverse crowd happy.

No need to completely remove meat from the menu. Rather, embrace the opportunity to extend vegetarian and/or vegan alternative offerings to help reduce its use.

Travel Smart. Travel Green.

As planners, client programs often take us around the world. Similarly, many attendees will specifically choose to register for an event because it’s taking place in a city they’ve always wanted to see.

It’s wonderful to travel, but we can’t ignore the impact it has on our environment, particularly our air quality. So how do we minimize it? Here are a few ways to offset the carbon footprint:

  • Venue Selection: For events with a large number of out-of-town attendees, consider hosting in a location near the airport. While it may not be the most glamourous part of a city, on-site travel distance is reduced, as are the emissions (and costs!). Another upside: airport hotels often tend to have better room and meeting rates than the metropolitan options. You may also want to consider donating the savings to a carbon-offset program.
  • Travel Together: Shuttling groups in buses and coaches is also a great way to reduce emissions. Shuttle transport also offers the additional benefit of a dedicated window of time with your audience. Take advantage by providing interesting content via video screens in the coach or giving a sponsor an opportunity to brand the bus and provide gifting and/or incentives during the ride.
  • In-town Transport: Showcase a program’s host city without forfeiting the environment by arranging for public transit cards for attendees and communicating routes between conference centres and hotels as well as local attractions. You can also promote walking routes and by-foot tours. Attendees will appreciate the chance to immerse themselves in a city’s culture rather than view it from the back seat of a taxi.

Hold Venues Accountable

Finally, event venues are arguably your biggest partner. Quite often, a venue may be in charge of everything, from set-up and tear down, food and beverage, AV, and accommodations. No matter how large, or small, a role they play in your program, though, it’s fair to expect them to be just as diligent as you are in maintaining a “green” experience.

in order to choose the most considerate and collaborative green partner for your event consider asking the following questions during the pre-selection process (FYI—these can be tailored for all of your potential event vendors):

  • What are your environmental and/or sustainability policies/practices?
  • How are those policies/practices implemented?
  • Do you have any existing partnerships with other organizations to promote your sustainability objectives, like local food shelters, etc.?
  • If catering is done in-house, take the sustainable food and beverage approach we recommended in our Part 1 blog to discover where and how food is sourced and what the processes are for disposal or donation following an event?

Despite the article being several years old, this piece in Meetings Today offers a comprehensive list of questions that will help you determine a venue’s level of environmental responsibility.

Picture4And there you have it – a few tips on the different ways you can make your next meeting or event greener. The truth is, every small step or action counts for something. While you may not be able to incorporate everything we’ve mentioned here all of the time, hopefully you’ve learned ways in which you can incorporate some of these tips most of the time.

Our earth isn’t uninhabitable yet. It’s up to us to make sure that it never is!

Do you have other ideas or tactics you’ve implemented to make your events more sustainable that we didn’t mention here?  Loma Marketing Agency wants to hear about it! Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and share your story by tagging us so we can learn more too.

Loren Maisels, CMP

As a detail-oriented and results-driven leader, Loren Maisels has not only focused her 15-year career on events marketing and demand generation … she’s owned it! With experience in both agency and corporate environments, Loren has planned numerous ROI-driven events for companies including Vision|Co, Accenture, Achievers and Great Place to Work.

A Toronto native, Loren found herself in San Francisco, California in 2011, spearheading SaaS company Achievers’ events expansion strategy. Among other key tactics, results-driven events paid off and the company was ultimately acquired by Blackhawk Networks in 2015.

In 2016 Loren returned home to Toronto and started LOMA Marketing Agency, a full service event marketing agency dedicated to building strategic creative experiences.

To learn more please visit www.lomaagency.com or contact Loren directly loren@lomaagency.com .