Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's a Numbers Game

5700 homes powered, 650 Olympic-size pools filled and 34,865 cars off the road. Not to mention $29 million in utility costs saved in 2009.

Impressive numbers from Hilton Worldwide announcing its LightStay, a proprietary system developed to calculate and analyze environmental impact. In the first full year of findings, the 2009 LightStay results show that the 1,300 Hilton Worldwide properties using the system conserved to achieve those results. Here is the full story in Green Lodging News,

A reminder to us all to measure our environmental and economic savings...then to report it out in terms of pools, cars, trees, $$$ and even elephants. What is measured does matter--tell your story!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Buddy, Take a Hike!

I challenge you to spend one half hour outside in nature today (in honor of Earth Day) to remember the sights, sounds and smells. I promise you a stress-free experience!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Green Incentive and a Good Buzz

No more excuses...tomorrow is your day to give up that paper cup for your morning coffee.

On April 15th, if you bring in your own reusable coffee mug to any Starbucks--you will receive a free cup of coffee. Check out their website for more information on their green project

Thanks to Ken for bringing this to my attention! He will be standing in line early tomorrow morning in Guadalajara for his sustainable caffiene fix.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Are You Kidding Me Right Now?

OK, I borrowed this line from my daughter, but it sums up how I feel when I read articles that remind me being environmentally responsible gets even more complex every day like this one about knowing the product's water footprint.

Now don't get me wrong, I actually believe that water probably the most important issue that is not being addressed. I am concerned about the human impact, security issues, and the ability to provide potable drinking water to a large percentage of the population in the not-to-distant future. But I worry that the complexity of the issues may have people throwing up their hands in a state of overwhelm. That they will not even start with the small steps because of the enormity.

So I guess what I am really trying to say today is...don't give up...keep doing whatever you can take on right is good enough! Just acquaint yourself with the issues so you know which to address when you ready.

Let's remember every step is movement in the right direction!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Third Degree

When you hear, "it's time for the third degree" you may think it is time for intense interrogation. But the Third Degree is also known as the highest level of achievement and that is the case with the brave new world of social responsibility in meetings--advocacy. It involves taking a stand to change practice. Here are some examples of how to do just that:

Regulation Advocacy
The area of accessibility for people with disabilities continues to require diligence to ensure accommodation providers are in compliance. For example, The Unitarian Universalist Association takes accessability so seriously they inspect every venue and hotel to make sure their participants have services available. Not only do they make sure minimum legal requirements are met, but also educate hotels and venues about principles of universal design that make their properties more inclusive of all users, without discrimination.

Destinations & Human Rights
Have you ever thought about how human rights factors into destination selection? What does your destination say about you and your organization? What could it say if you used destination selection to better the living conditions in the places you meet? Responsible meetings create better places for people to live in and meet in. If you are interested in uncovering what human rights issues exist in your next meeting location visit Amnesty International's website: Search for country specific issues under the "Learn About Human Rights" tab.

Vendor Selection & Social Action
Do your suppliers act on social responsibility? Are they advocating for change within their own supply chain? Have they been targeted with workplace action? When ordering bags, T-shirts, and water bottles remember to ask if products meet Fair Labor Association and Ethical Trading Initiative Guidelines.

To read the entire report, "Having a Human Impact: What is social responsibility for meetings?"click here
Acknowledgement: Our sincere thanks to Mark Mawson, Amanda De Kruiff and Robert Pfister of Vancouver Island University for their work on this project and the meeting professionals who provided their insight into our research.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Second Degree: Responsible Action

The Second Degree of Social Responsibility for meetings and events includes actions that integrate social responsibility into fundamental planning practices like procurement and hiring. Here are a few great examples:

Fair Trade
Sometimes goods are produced in ways that don't allow everyone to share in the benefits. Farmers may not be able to own the land they grow a crop on, they might not be paid a living wage, or even given a fair fee for their crop. When you buy fair trade, you send a message that we all need to ask questions about how products are made and how producers benefit. Fortunately there are tools out there that help planners source fairly traded products such as Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International:

Buying local can be associated with both social and environmental responsibility. It reduces energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by requiring less transportation and benefits the community where you meet. Local food is fresher and tastes better, local talent allows you to experience the culture and local products support the community.

Health and Safety
Meeting planners are starting to require suppliers source products that are safe for human and environmental health. Request hotels use environmentally-certified cleaners, giveaways are BPA free and buses don't idle while waiting to shuttle attendees.

You create experiences that are successful and memorable because they are absent of issues that make your participants dissatisfied. Consider sensitivity to diet and allergens, ability, culture and other human characteristics that will enable participation and enjoyment of your events. Air quality issue are emerging worldwide in response to guest concerns. Learn how green certification programs are addressing the smoking issue:

To read the entire report, "Having a Human Impact: What is social responsibility for meetings?"click here