Monday, November 30, 2009

The Most Awful Word

The "most awful word" in the English language is said to be the word ALONE. And that is how many of you feel. We often hear, "I am just one person ,and although sustainability is important to me, my company doesn't really care."

Sound familiar? How can you make a difference?

First, remember individuals can change the world. You are probably in a decision-making role in your organization so start by making different decisions. Start with the "low hanging fruit" that doesn't cost anything. Recycle, print fewer handouts, don't order bottled water or reuse signage. Then compile the economic savings for these decisions and show senior management. Believe me, you will get their attention. One convention service manager at a large hotel recently told me he was the lone voice for green practices and he insitituted a recycling program. The cost savings is $5,000-$7,000 a month. They are listening now!

Secondly, recruit other passionate people in your company for an informal green team. They will bring ideas from their area of expertise to the table. Again, use ideas that will save money and increase your image to key stakeholders.

Third, take a look at your organization's mission statement to see if there is anything about corporate responsibility, being a good citizen, saving the environment, changing to meet the future, etc. Leverage this statement to get senior management on board and behind the green team.

Organizations today are under increased scrutiny from the public and showing you are sustainable is key. There is no more visable place than in the meetings and events you produce!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Green Meeting Tip of the Week #5

Call it a hunch, but I bet in a few day's time you will be interested in something besides poultry to eat. Tip: If you are choosing seafood for your holiday events make sure it is sustainable.

To make your job easier, Monterey Bay Aquarium just came out with a new list called the "Super Green List" which contains food that is good for humans AND for the oceans.

The Super Green list highlights products that are currently on the Seafood Watch "Best Choices" (green) list, are low in environmental contaminants AND are good sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Green Meeting Tip of the Week

Yesterday's post about the transportation for attendees at SuperComputing '09, reminded me of the fact that transportation is still a difficult area in producing sustainable meetings.

Here are a few more tips to help along the way:

Inform participants of environmentally responsible transportation options. Use your communications (such as the registration confirmation email) to tell them the best way to get from their airport to the hotel to the convention center.

If walking is the best way to get around, give them pedometers (sponsorship opportunity) and have a contest for the most miles walked. Make it fun!

If shuttles cannot be avoided, minimize the shuttle times and area covered to save time and the environment e.g. don't shuttle for distances less than 6 blocks, but do have transportation available for those with special needs.

When using a transportation company, request their environmental policies as part of the RFP process. Require the use of alternative fuels (bio-diesel, electric, ethanol, natural gas) or hybrid vehicles and avoid unnecessary idling. Put it in the contract!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Super Commuters

This week we are working with SuperComputing '09 on their conference of over 10,000 computer scientists. They have taken on sustainability this year and have a number of green meeting initiatives

Their keynote speaker, Al Gore, talked about the 90 million tons of carbon that goes into the atmosphere each day and how humans must make different choices. A series of decisions were made to help make a difference:

  • First choice--one of conference initiatives was to reduce the amount of transportation required.
  • Conference organizers chose hotels that were either within walking distance or accessible to the light rail system whenever possible.
  • Participants chose to walk or ride MAX (with the exception of a few hotels).
  • Off-site events did not include shuttles but were also located in the same transit area.
These choices made a significant impact on the livability of our community. Thanks, Super Commuters!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Code Word is Sustainability!

If you are looking for a green meeting venue...look no further. The International Association of Conference Centers recently developed a Code of Sustainability for its members and the adoption rate has been outstanding.

"IACC’s Code of Sustainability shines a bright spotlight on the path that already more than a third of its members have followed to affirm their compliance with more sustainable, environmentally responsible industry policies and practices. " reports Lois Berg, Chair, IACC's Code of Sustainability Committee.

I am listing them all here in recognition of such a important effort and as a resource for you!

Platinum TierThe Johnson Foundation at Wingspread Racine, Wisconsin, USA

Gold Tier Airlie Center Warrenton, Virginia, USA Aspen Meadows Resort, a Dolce Resort Aspen, Colorado, USA The Banff Centre Banff, Alberta, Canada Barnett Hill Conference Centre Guildford, Surrey, England Comwell Klarskovgaard a-s Korsør, Denmark Conferencehotel Kapellerput Heeze, Netherlands The Council House Racine, Wisconsin, USA Dunrovin Conference Center Baldwin, Michigan, USA Eaglewood Resort & Spa Itasca, Illinois, USA Edith Macy Conference Center Briarcliff Manor, New York, USA The Enterprise Center at BCC Mount Laurel, New Jersey, USA Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa La Jolla, California, USA Executive Conference Center at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club Durham, North Carolina, USA The Executive Meeting Center at the DoubleTree Palm Beach Gardens Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA Gl. Skovridergaard Conference Centre Silkeborg, Denmark Hamilton Park Hotel & Conference Center Florham Park, New Jersey, USA Highgate House Northampton, Northamptonshire, England The Inverness Hotel and Conference Center Englewood, Colorado, USA Mission Bay Conference Center at UCSF San Francisco, California, USA The Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Paul J. Rizzo Conference Center Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA Q Center Saint Charles, Illinois, USA R. David Thomas Conference Center Durham, North Carolina, USA Skamania Lodge Stevenson, Washington, USA Stora Brännbo Konferens och Hotell Sigtuna, Sweden Tempe Mission Palms Hotel & Conference Center Tempe, Arizona, USA University Place Conference Center & Hotel - IUPUI Indianapolis, Indiana, USA White Oaks Conference Resort and Spa Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada Woodside Conference Centre Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England

Silver TierAT&T Executive Education and Conference Center at the University of Texas Austin, Texas, USA Cheyenne Mountain Resort Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA Dolce Bad Nauheim Bad Nauheim, Germany Dolce Chantilly Chantilly, France Dolce Frégate Provence Saint Cyr sur Mer, France Dolce La Hulpe La Hulpe, Belgium Dolce Sitges Barcelona, Spain Donald Gordon Conference Centre Kingston, Ontario, Canada Executive Conference Center at the Phoenix Convention Center Phoenix, Arizona, USA Executive Meeting Center at the Renaissance Denver Hotel Denver, Colorado, USA The Founders Inn and Spa Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA The Heldrich Hotel & Conference Center New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA imago at Burleigh Court Loughborough, Leicestershire, England Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University Washington, DC, USA Lied Lodge & Conference Center Nebraska City, Nebraska, USA MIT Endicott House Dedham, Massachusetts, USA The National Conference Center Lansdowne, Virginia, USA Royal College of Physicians of London London, England Sinatur Hotel Haraldskær Vejle, Denmark The Stables Conference Centre Red Hill, Victoria, Australia Stonewall Resort Roanoke, West Virginia, USA Summit Executive Centre Chicago, Illinois, USA Tarrytown House Estate & Conference Center Tarrytown, New York, USA WorldatWork Conference Center Washington, DC, USA

Friday, November 13, 2009

Green Meeting Tip of the Week

Save money on your electrical costs by choosing a robust low-energy lighting package for your main stage or exhibit booth. Your electrical requirements will be reduced significantly: The more LED and HID units your AV provider is able to substitute into your lighting scheme, the less power you will need.

In venues where electricity is charged by the watt or service size, this can amount to thousands of dollars in savings. SAMPLE: For a 36 light system using conventional 575-1000 watt fixtures, your power needs (100amps 3phase 120/208volt) would average about $1000.00. For the same system in LED, your power needs ((3) 20amp 120volt outlets) would average about 225.00. Please note that these charges may vary wildly depending on the venue--but you get the idea.

If you want to learn more, there is a FREE webinar on Green AV you may want to take advantage of:

Green AV Guidelines: From Lobby to Practice Free Webinar
Tuesday, Nov. 17 2:00PM - 3:00PM EST

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cost Cutting Equals Green

It was interesting to read the recent column, "What Have You Done This Year to Cut Costs at Your Meetings?" in October's Association Meetings Magazine.

Planners talked about their cost cutting measures over the past year. The exciting part is that many of the actions they took this year were also green meeting practices. For example:

Bonnie Wallsh, Bonnie Wallsh Associates LLC, reports...

"Rather than hard copies, attendees were given zip drives containing conference handouts.
We met with the chef and asked him to recommend a menu using our budget and attendee information and to take advantage of local produce and what was in season."

Maryanne Bobrow, Bobrow & Associates talked about the 2009 International Textile and Apparel Association Conference where...

"Using recycled materials reduced costs but was presented as being socially responsible.
We used a social responsibility keynote speaker from the local area.
We did not print and mail a preliminary program, but instead posted everything on line."

The article was about cost cutting. Saving the environment was a nice benefit!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Green Meeting Tip of the Week

When planning a banquet, ask the caterer NOT to prefill water glasses. Instead, ask that the servers come to the table with a pitcher of water and fill glasses upon request. Track the amount of water saved and report on it.

Bonus Tip: Use mugs instead of cups and saucers. There is only one piece to be washed instead of two--saving water and energy.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Let's Predict The Future

The world of meetings has changed. Our job as meeting professionals to connect people has not changed. It is vitally important that people continue to communicate, share and learn from each other. The economy, technology, and social considerations will play a much larger role as we move forward as meeting professionals. We believe the more proactive meeting professionals are, the more likely the profession is to thrive in the future.

Could you take a few minutes to help us understand and shape the future? MeetGreen has developed a survey to get a clearer picture of the impact virtual meetings are having on organizations. Our goal is to use this information to further develop the skills to keep connecting people, whether that is in person or remotely. We would greatly appreciate your response to this quick, one-page online survey no later than November 11, 2009:
Take the Survey!

For each response received MeetGreen will be donating $1 to the Oregon Food Bank. All responses are anonymous and are being analyzed as part of a research partnership with Vancouver Island University. We would greatly appreciate your insight. Thank you!