An Event Planner's Guide to Green Meetings and Events

Why Every Event Planner Should Be Familiar with Green Events

An eco-friendly office building.
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According to the Convention Industry Council (CIC), a green meeting or green event incorporates environmental considerations into the entire planning process to minimize the event's negative impact on the environment. A green event is organized with the aim of minimizing waste and promoting sustainable actions, which goes far beyond such basic "green" practices as recycling. In fact, a truly green event is one that takes a comprehensive approach from reducing the number of resources used to reusing recycled resources to ensuring event waste is disposed of properly by recycling or composting as much as possible.

Green events are no longer just an "eco-friendly" marketing buzzword. People are increasingly calling for better practices as awareness grows of the effects we have on our planet. For example, 8 million tons of plastic wind up in the ocean annually, and much of this plastic pollution is consumed by sea creatures, according to the United Nations.

Many American universities now offer and encourage university and student events to strive for sustainability or green event certification offered through the school. Professional and corporate event planners are now being tasked with similar green event goals.

Benefits of Planning Eco-Friendly or Green Events

Of course, the primary benefit of planning a green event is the benefit to the environment. While this should always be the primary driver of green events, recognize it's a business as well. It can be strategic to "go green" both in terms of financial savings and reputation.

While the eco-friendly option can be more expensive, certain aspects of green meetings and events can save money. For instance, collecting name badge holders for reuse at an event of 1,300 attendees can save about $1,000 for the event organizer the next time around, depending on the quality of badge holder used.

Of course, there are also intangible benefits many companies seek from holding green events and meetings. Reaping the reputation benefit of a positive and trendy buzzword is generally part of a company's motivation, particularly when the "green" option is the more expensive or difficult option.

Planning an Eco-Friendly or Green Event

Before choosing an event destination, hotel, venue, transportation, and more, consider what impact these services provided by suppliers would have on the objective to organize a green meeting or event. Make sure selected suppliers consider elements of sustainability, including the recycling of their own products and services throughout the year. As it relates to the environment, using recycled materials, reusing items, and reducing materials can significantly lessen the potential impact of events.

When it comes to being eco-friendly or "green," it's as much about what's not used as what is. True environmental friendliness is not just about appearance. If your corporate client strives to reap eco-friendly reputation benefits from a green event, suggest including some educational material explaining to guests the ways in which the event is sustainable and how they too can make small changes for a greener lifestyle at work or at home.

Don't hesitate to promote the eco-friendly value of your event!