Thursday, March 26, 2009

That's What I Am Talking About

Recognition! Two of our partners received recognition this week for their work in sustainable meetings.

Congratulations to the US Green Building Council Conference and Event Staff on receiving their BS8901 Certification! They are the first event team in North America to be certified through all three Phases of the British Standard for Sustainable Events.. This 3-year certification means all events planned by USGBC staff are verified to comply with the Standard. Applause to USGBC and their vendor partners who made it happen!

Congratulations to Jodi Morrison, Oracle, for receiving the Greenest Planner designation at the Green Travel Summit. Jodi has been instrumental in helping to advocate for even greener convention services in San Francisco to help improve sustainability at Oracle OpenWorld The award was sponsored by Meeting News and Successful Meetings.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


It is the change associated with more sustainable meetings that challenges both people and organizations. Change can be both scary AND incredibly rewarding. Today--more than ever--we are being asked to change as business and the economy require new vision. I am learning more about it in hopes of making the transition to sustainably meetings and business easier for all involved.

As a part of my research, I am now reading "The Heart of Change" by John P. Kotter. In his book he talks about the Eight Steps for Successful Change which he believes are:

1. Increase urgency
2. Build the guiding team
3. Get the vision right
4. Communicate for buy-in
5. Empower action
6. Create short-term wins
7. Don't let up
8. Make change stick

These are exactly the steps we are finding when organizations start incorporating green meeting practices into their programs. Facinating! I can think of case studies for each of these in the work we have done. I will make sure in future posts to share those and would welcome stories you have about change in your organization as well!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Buyer Beware: Plastics

BUYER BEWARE: This symbol with a number in the middle on the bottom of a plastic container doesn't necessarily mean it is easily recycled. It is simply a way to indentify why type of plastic it is. Both as a consumer and as a meeting planner it is important to know what your food is served on(in) and how readily it can be kept out of the local landfill. Here is a quick guide for you...

#1 PETE or PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate): Used for clear beverage bottles. Widely recyclable, check with your local recycler.
#2 HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) : Used for colored bottles and jugs, yogurt containers and other tubs. Widely recyclable, check with your local recycler.
#3 PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): Used in some cling wrap and bottles as well as pipes and other construction materials. Not widely recyclable.
#4 LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene): used for garbage bags, food storage bags, some cling wraps and bottles. Not widely recyclable.
#5 PP (Polypropylene): Used in butter tubs, baby bottles and other rigid containers. Not widely recyclable.
#6 PS (Polystryene): Used in foam trays, takeout containers, coolers and egg cartons (also those little black plates you see at banquets). Not widely recyclable. Recommended to avoid.
#7 Other (includes polycarbonate and mixed materials). This is a tough one. While some things in this category are not widely recyclable, biodegradable and compostable containers are often lumped into this "other" category. When you see #7, ask more questions.
Source: Real Money

As an example in my area, #1 and #2 plastic can recycle curbside, all others except #6 can be taken to a local recycling center. And #6, well good luck finding anyplace to take it unless you happen to have a freight car full of it. So I keep this in mind when making my purchases.

I know, I know...this information doesn't even take into account the scary chemicals that can leach out (that is a whole discussion to itself).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Report from a City Discussion Group

Yesterday I attended the Portland (Oregon) City Discussion Group for the new Green Industry Standards. We reviewed the proposed standards in the categories of Meeting Venue, Destination, and Transportation. The proposed standards put forward by the committees were impressive! It must have taken considerable committee work to bring forward such well thought out, fair, practical, concise and measurable practices for review.

I was struck by the amount of passion and commitment professionals in our industry have to take on a project of this scope. My thanks to all of the committee members and city groups for their time, expertise and willingness to have the conversation about how we can make a difference!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Trust is the Issue

More and more you are hearing about the lack of trust customers are expressing for companies and organizations. Who can you trust? How to do know? What are their core values?

Consumers are looking for more accountability and transparency. Both of these are inherent in environmental practices and reporting. According to a 2008 Cone Consumer Environmental Survey, "70 percent of Americans indiciate that they are paying attention to what companies are doing with regard to the environment today, even if they cannot buy until the future." In addition, "35 percent of Americans have higher expectations for companies to make and sell environmentally responsible products and services during the economic downturn."

Do you take the environment into consideration when planning your meetings? How do your meetings reflect the values of your organization?
What is your organization doing to give stakeholders a higher level of trust right now?

Read the full survey:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Join A Green Meeting City Discussion Group Today

You have heard about the standards...You want to know more...You want to be a part of the is your chance! It is time to give your input to the Green Meeting standards in a city near you. From the APEX website....
As a part of the APEX initiative, City Discussion Groups are events akin to town hall meetings. They are a vital part of the development of accepted industry practices for the meeting, convention, and exhibition industry. These groups will meet throughout the development of accepted practices to review and comment upon the recommendations of the Green Meetings and Events Practice Panel, whose work will culminate in the formation of Green Meeting and Events Voluntary Standards. CDGs offer industry members an opportunity to participate publicly in the dialogue and action that will help shape the development of the standard.