Monday, May 12, 2008

Planning For the New Generations

Our goal as meeting planners is to make our conferences exceptional events for participants. From the type of learning, to the networking activities, to the accommodations—the total experience is taken into account. We have heard a lot about the generational differences of the groups who participate and no where is it more apparent than in the environmental realm.

The younger the participant, the more environmentally savvy they are. Their expectations of environmental considerations throughout the meeting will be much higher. To them, it is a personal commitment. In his Earth Day 2008 Report, Joel Makower shares some important statistics:

“One in ten Americans say that they have looked up their personal or household's carbon footprint, according to Harris Interactive. Younger Americans are more likely to have done so. Almost one in five (18%) Echo Boomers (aged 18-31) say they have looked up their carbon footprint, compared to 11% of Gen Xers (aged 32-43), 9% of Baby Boomers (aged 44-62), and 6% of Matures (63 and older). “

As new generations move into the role of conference participants, they will be expecting green meeting practices to be incorporated into how we do meetings. Yet another reason to embrace green meetings!

2 comments:

eredux said...

Check out this US Carbon Footprint Map, an interactive United States Carbon Footprint Map, illustrating Greenest States. This site has all sorts of stats on individual State energy consumptions, demographics and State energy offices.

http://www.eredux.com/states/

Shawna McKinley said...

An interesting web resource you point out! Although it can be one resource to help point planners in the direction of states that have 'smaller' carbon footprints I think we have to remember two things. The first is that one of our largest impacts as an industry results from the distance we travel between our homes and the meeting location. It is helpful to know which states have the lowest per capita carbon output, however if these states are not close to our average delegate we could be making a poor decision when it comes to achieving the goal of reducing our overall footprint. So although Vermont appears a green option, this may not be the case if the majority of attendees come from the southwest. Another important piece to consider is how the hospitality communities in each city are working to reduce emissions. Several states that appear lower on this list are home to meeting venues, hotels and convention and visitor bureaux that are actually doing some progressive things in the area of green meeting management. I just caution planners to not rely solely on carbon footprint estimates of cities and states when our largest impact often comes from the relative distance between locales, and the environmental attributes of specific facilities.