Monday, January 26, 2009

Take Another Green Step

No matter where you are on the "sustainable meeting journey", The Green Meeting Industry Council Conference has sessions planned just for you.

From beginners…
Green Meetings 101-Future Leaders Forum

To Intermediate…
Hotels As Leaders of Sustainable Change
Virtual Technology and Green Meetings
What should we measure and why? ROI Redefined for Meeting Organizers
Standards, Certifications and Green Meetings: What Does it All Mean?
International Destinations Measure the Impact of Green Meetings
Innovation as a Collective Sustainable Movement

To Advanced…
New this year is a “Leadership Track.” This track includes both individual projects and addressing industry global issues. Leaders will act as a think tank for the industry and develop interactive solutions to present back to the GMIC membership.

Explore this incredible program for yourself on the GMIC Conference website.
Start your post here

Monday, January 19, 2009

It's A State Of Mind

They said it wouldn’t last. They were wrong. The Sustainable Meeting Industry is alive and growing—it shows no signs of stopping.

2008 was a wild and crazy ride and the path ahead in 2009 looks just as exciting! Meeting Strategies Worldwide is proud to present our inaugural State of the 2009 Sustainable Meetings Industry Report. Trends and forecasts speak to continued economic challenges and increased demand for sustainable meetings. Both present a perfect storm of conditions to continue to motivate all of us to improve the value of what we do by exploring new ideas to be most sustainable and maximize return on investment.

In this year's report we set the stage for 2009 by discussing the trends and economic factors that are affecting us all, and then provide you with some ideas to address emerging areas of policy, human interest and technology for events. We hope you'll feel encouraged to go forth, mindful that 2009 lies ahead of all of us a clean field of untrodden snow, careful how you tread on it, for every step will show. Read the full report here

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Greening of PCMA

PCMA is an excellent example of the journey to sustainable meetings. When the conference was held in Toronto, it was a "zero-waste" event made possible in part by the infrastructure of the Toronto Convention Centre and community. The next year in Seattle (also a city with many green practices in place) it was also very environmentally responsible. This year, New Orleans was a more difficult location to green. PCMA had their work cut out for them.

I heard a lot of feedback from participants about things they have come to expect but were not realized this year. One example is the expectation of either china or biodegradable plates (which the Convention Center did have) but the offsite events were a sea of little black plastic plates and plastic cups.. Making it worse, was the fact that this food was all bite-sized so an individual could go through 5-7 plates at one event. The PCMA Green Task Force was observing and collecting feedback on the green meeting practices for the planning team. Note: You should also let them know your thoughts on the evaluations.

Don't get me wrong, New Orleans is an excellent choice of location for the social component of CSR meetings and I applaud PCMA. It just makes the planner's job tougher to ensure the green practices are also incorporated. And like I always say, it is a journey and we learn each step of the way.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Presto...Chango...It's Magic

One of the coolest ideas at the PCMA Conference is the conference bag/shipping envelope sponsored by FedEx. It is a canvas bag with straps to carry your goodies around during the event. At the end of the conference, simply turn it inside out, fill it up and ship it home. Once it arrives home, you can turn it inside out once again and have a bag. Like magic!

Personally after I used it as a bag, I took it to the PCMA bookstore and filled it up with great meeting planning and business books (I could buy more that my suitcase would permit). Then directly to the FedEx desk for shipping (free to participants). Can't wait until my bag arrives back at the office to resume its life as a book bag!

Creative solutions for environmentally responsible meetings!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Learning From The Experts

My second day at PCMA finds Amy and I taking a turn at staffing the "Ask The Expert" area of the Green Meetings Community. It is a comfortable lounge area to sit and share ideas and information. There are resources as well as a center to share "Best Green Meeting Practices" is also a message center to share best practices. Even though I had a huge button proclaiming I was the expert, everyone stopping by had ideas, experience or a passion for a more sustainable future.

We talked about cost savings, how to measure both the economic and environmental bottom lines, how to engage attendees and how to enroll stakeholders. Overwhelmingly I am hearing that hotels, convention centers and other industry vendors are really getting on board and it is much easier to plan sustainable events today than it was even 18 months ago. That is wonderful news. I am also hearing that planners are looking to green meeting practices as one way to save money during the economic downturn.

For those of you at PCMA, stop by, share and learn from fellow experts!

Live from PCMA

Here I am in jazzy New Orleans for the PCMA Conference! My first day included a meeting of PCMA's 2009 Green Meeting Task Force which recently formed. More on that later, but first a creative idea to share....

When I arrived back in my room, there was a pedometer and a note waiting for me. The note said to use the pedometer in this "fabulous walkable city" between now and noon on Wednesday. Then we can take our pedometer to conference check-in to show how many steps we have logged. The person with the most steps will win a trip to the New Orlean's Jazz Fest. Now that is incentive!

As they say, "Good for your health, good for the environment and good for our future" Skip the shuttle buses, it's time to walk!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ideas Multiply When You Share Them

The 2009 Meetings Market Trends Survey includes stats and charts about how meeting planners are readily adopting green meeting practices. Take a look in the February Meetings Media publications for the full story. Meanwhile, I thought it would be fun to share some of the unedited ideas and comments from the survey respondents:

"We have stopped printing our 3-volume convention and seminar manuals. We ask the hotel for recycling bins. We’re going to start asking about leftover food to make sure they are giving what they can to a food program."

"I developed and introduced our "Green Initiative" at our Annual Convention in June...In fact, overall, the initiatives saved us money. The biodegradable cups were obviously less expensive than bottled water, and the grocery bags saved us about 65% compared with the cost for our typical tote bags. We also did a good job of promoting the Green Initiative in advance (through emails) and on-site in our Show Daily. Of those attendees who responded to our electronic convention evaluation, 72% were aware of our Green Initiative, and of those who had an opinion about it, 89% approved of our new program. These were small steps, but now that I have demonstrated cost savings and buy-in from attendees, I know that we can continue and expand upon our Green Initiative."

"I am working on incorporating green concepts into our meetings right now. Last year we had some contests where the winners received trees planted in their honor rather than a promo item."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jumpin' Green Meeting Planners, it's 2009!

“There was a sizeable jump in the number of meeting planners who are planning or expect to plan a green meeting, led by 51% of independents (a 16% jump over the last survey) and followed by 46.8% of corporates (a 10.5% jump over the last survey), and 44.4% both of association planners and government planners," reports Tyler Davidson, Editorial Director, Meetings Media. He goes on to say, "It’s a buyer’s market, and the buyer’s appear to want green, although communicating potential cost-savings always remains a perception problem."
This is a sneak peak at the 2009 Meetings Market Trends Survey which will be published in February by Meetings Media. Meetings Media recently completed their survey of 628 meeting planners primarily based in the US. Besides the green info, it’s a comprehensive survey detailing key aspects of meeting planning, segmented by association planner, corporate planner, independent planner and government planner.

If you are interested in getting it (for free!), you can sign up for a subscription at:, if you do not already subscribe to any of their editions.
In my next post, another sneak peak at the survey. I will reveal what elements of green meetings planners are adopting first!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome 2009!

Lot’s of people are speculating about 2009 and what it will bring. Along with the speculating comes excitement, worry, anticipation, and, of course, fear. It is easy to get drawn in. So when looking towards the new year, I just remember what Dr. Seuss said about each of us,

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go.”

Here's to a sustainable 2009!