Friday, August 29, 2008

Do Not Disturb

We often hear complaints that even though you have requested NOT have towels and sheets changed, it happens anyway. You are not alone, I have the same experience when I travel. Hotels will tell you this is a continuous training issue for their housekeeping staff. So when I travel, the first time it happens I usually ask/remind the housekeeping staff and front desk to please comply with my wishes.

Nevertheless, a well-meaning housekeeper may decide they need to be changed anyway (really, I am not that dirty—especially because I keep getting fresh soap every time I leave the room). So, I go to Plan B and simply leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door for the rest of my stay. This plan works pretty well. Although, sooner or later security will show up at my door to make sure I am OK. It is actually pretty comforting to know they are checking on me and gives me another chance to let the hotel know I am just trying to save the planet, one towel at a time!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Refreshing Ideas for Sponsors

One thing I know about green meetings, they can really make a sponsor look good! Here is an idea that keeps the conference paperless and receives great reviews from sponsors and participants every time…

If your conference is giving out a USB key with the conference presentations and handouts at registration, consider also having a “Refresh Station.” This sponsorship opportunity includes a central gathering area for participants to:

Refresh their USB keys (at plug in stations) and get the latest information posted.
Refresh their bodies with fresh, hot coffee and cookies
Refresh their laptops/cell phones with electrical outlets for recharging
Refresh their minds by meeting new people and exchanging ideas at the tables

It might even be a fun place to add a massage station!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Survey Says...

Green is here and growing! I want to share several new surveys/studies which have just been published…

Destination Marketing Association International will introduce the results of its Futures 2008 Study in August identifying the most important trends, events and developments as perceived by DMO experts. It identified eight globally focused “super trends” one of which is “Going Green.” The article in Smart Meetings, August 2008 issue quotes the DMAI Study as saying, “DMOs and the stakeholders they serve, will experience increasing pressure to be seen as green and will need to develop realistic strategies and plans for sustainable development and management of their travel products.”

Meetings MidAmerica asked this question in a recent survey, “Are Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) elements becoming a larger part of your meetings or organization?”
An overwhelming 62% said YES, 24% no, and 14% are considering it.

Just the facts!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Consider The Source!

By requesting local foods, meeting planners can play a large role in providing healthy and sustainable food for participants. There are certainly environmental, community and health benefits to this practice. What about the economic advantage, you ask? The Sunday Oregonian published some interesting data yesterday regarding cost savings.

They investigated three examples associated with the delivery of a pound of fresh blueberries to points of sale.

1. Air freight from Chile. You pay about $18 per pound (berries typically come in 4.4 ounce containers and sell for $5.) This does not include customs clearance or ground handling on arrival in the US which could add 20 cents a pound to the cost.
2. Ground transportation. You pay about $3.50 per pound. This is based on a refrigerated trailer traveling within 100 miles following major multiple-retailer channels to the point of sale.
3. Local Farmers Market Direct Delivery. You pay about $2.50 per pound. This is based on a shipment originating 20 miles away traveling in a nonrefrigerated pick up truck.

Considering the source of the food we serve can add up to a cost savings everyone will enjoy!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Little Friendly Competition

In my last blog, I talked about things exhibitors can do to minimize their carbon footprint. We have found one of the best ways to enroll and engage them is with an award. Both IMEX and the US Green Building Council have used an exhibitor award to help promote greener booth designs at their trade shows.

IMEX’s approach is to encourage exhibitors to self-nominate, showing examples of how their booth promotes energy efficiency, waste reduction, water conservation and environmental purchasing. All nominated booths are assessed by an independent judging committee. The committee selects one winner for the award, which is announced during the Gala Dinner at the show. The Malta Tourism Authority won in 2008

USGBC’s approach is a little different. Exhibitors are encouraged to self-nominate and fill in a points-based scorecard for the green features of their booth. These booth features are verified by a judging committee during the show to confirm they are in place. All exhibitors that reach a minimum leadership level score are recognized in next years show program, receive priority points for their booth location selection the following year and the chance to win a free booth space. These incentives are very important as Greenbuild is a sold-out show. The incentives have been very successful, with 17 applications received in 2006 and 77 in 2007.

Both great models for recognizing exhibitors!

Monday, August 4, 2008

That's Our Show, Folks!

If you have ever been on a trade show floor one hour after the show closes you have seen the amazing amount of waste. There is paper, cardboard, all sorts of giveaways, lumber…you name it. Once, I even saw koi fish that had been on display in a booth. Trade shows and expositions are often the component of a conference or event that has the most significant impact on the environment. Exhibitions use large amounts of energy, require considerable transportation, and generate a tremendous amount of waste—all of which affect the health of the planet.

In fact, statistics show us one three-day conference-trade show with 500 booths is estimated to use:
- 617,000 KwH electricity
- 28,000 therms natural gas
- 376,000 gallons of fuel

And produces 8 million tons of carbon dioxide! Now that is one big carbon footprint!

There are really four parties who can work together to minimize this footprint: the facility, the general services contractor, the exhibitors and the planner. As the meeting planner, here are a few things I ask our exhibitors to do:

- Participate in the facility’s recycling program as well as donate locally. Remember to train your booth staff to assist with this process.
- Minimize packaging materials on all booth items and use environmentally responsible packing materials.
- Avoid large quantities of collateral. Provide information electronically whenever possible.
- If printed materials can’t be avoided, they should use vegetable-based ink and 30% minimum post-consumer, recycled paper.
- Provide environmentally responsible giveaways and ensure they are not made from endangered or threatened species (you wouldn’t think we would have to say that).
- Design displays to be made with environmentally responsible materials including energy efficient lighting.
- Make signage from recycled materials and reuse or donate it after the show.
- Minimize transportation to and from show site. Use bio-diesel fueled or alternative fuel trucks. - Offset transportation emissions with a carbon offset program.

Exhibitors are your partners in the greening of the exhibit hall--enroll and entice them. Watch for my next blog on how to do just that!