Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Art of Reuse

As our conference management team was preparing to leave for Eclipse Summit 2010 in Germany yesterday they told me this great story...

"When we left ESE 2009, we donated the sign easels to a local art school. The teachers and students were thrilled to have them and wanted us to use them when we came back to town. Sure enough, we called today (almost a year later) and they offered to bring the easels to the venue for our use. We had to purchase several lamps for this year's event and will donate them to the school afterwards."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Money Talks

Trimmed $1.4 million from our client's budgets through sustainable event practice recommendations.

That's what MeetGreen did in the last reporting period. Just the facts in our Corporate Report 2010. In addition, we...

  • Saved 1653 trees
  • Prevented 63 trucks of trash from entering landfills
  • Avoided emissions equivalent to taking 300 cars off the road for a year
  • Saved enough energy to power 560 American homes for a year
  • Eliminated 774,000 water bottles from the waste stream
  • Conserved enough water to fill 3 Olympic-sized pools
  • Helped 34 community groups

A huge THANK YOU to all of our stakeholders--clients, vendors, associates and teams who made this possible--because together we made a difference.

"Each of you knows at least one thing well. All of you together can make a village run." B.Ghosthorse

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mom Knew

It isn't financial incentives. It isn't more information. It's guilt that motivates us, according to The Wall Street Journal article, "The Secret to Turning Consumers Green".

As you know I am of the mind "whatever works" when it comes to engaging people to be more environmentally responsible, so I thought these two studies were very insightful.

One study involved those placards in hotel bathrooms that urge guests to reuse towels. Over a three-month period, researchers tested two different placards in a 190-room, midprice chain hotel.

One card was headlined "Help Save the Environment" and urged visitors to "show your respect for nature" by reusing towels. The second read, "Join Your Fellow Guests in Helping to Save the Environment" and noted that 75% of guests participated in the towel-reuse program. The guests who were exposed to the peer pressure—the fact that so many of their fellow travelers were doing it—were 25% more likely to reuse towels.

A follow-up study found that tweaking the wording on the placard so it was specific to the guest's room (as in: nearly 75% of guests who stayed here in Room 331 reused their towels) yielded even better compliance.
And in another study...

Psychologist Doug McKenzie-Mohr describes one such study in his book "Fostering Sustainable Behavior." A college gym's shower room displayed a prominent sign urging students to conserve water by turning off the shower while they soaped up. Only 6% did so initially. But when researchers planted an accomplice who shut off his water midshower, 49% of students followed suit. When there were two accomplices, compliance jumped to 67%, even though the accomplices didn't discuss their actions or make eye contact with other students.

Traditional conservation campaigns have been "based on the premise that if we simply provide people with information, they will make changes in their lives," Mr. McKenzie-Mohr says. "We know pretty conclusively that's not true."
So I guess I can throw away my slides loaded with information about doing the right thing and those that present the business case and develop a set using good, old fashioned guilt. I think I shall call it, "Guilt Trips!" Thanks, Mom.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

I read with interest a Strategic Meetings Management Article called "Local Flavor" by Elaine Pofeldt. It talks about the trend towards smaller regional meetings and some of the benefits. Benefits like...

  • Regional events fit the practical, budget-conscious mood of the times
  • Travel cost is lower in smaller cities
  • Airfare is less
  • The meeting can be less opulent
  • Regional meetings attract, engage and retain members living far from headquarters
  • Members like to stay close to home
  • People can have conversation with many people instead of listening to only a few on stage.

All great benefits and I would add a few...

  • Environmental savings from less travel
  • Social impact of staying in the local community
  • Participant satisfaction

If you are seeing this trend in your own organization, make sure to measure the savings in terms of money, environment and social aspects, Then tell the story! Your key stakeholders such as the management team, shareholders, sponsors and participants will sing your praises.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Good Advice From Trees

While in Monterey, we talked with the local community about sustainable destinations. How this region of businesses--already incorporating environmentally responsible practices--can put together a package of sustainable hotels, restaurants, attractions, stores and transit. By working together, their community can form an "eco-zone" for meetings and events.

Community is important. In fact, may be vital to survival. It was a lesson I had just seen in nature.

The day before and a few miles north, we visited a Coast Redwood grove. According to the guide, these giant trees have very shallow roots (less than 6 feet deep) but horizontally spread hundreds of feet in each direction to secure themselves by holding on to the other trees in the grove. Growing together makes the trees strong enough to survive coastal storms and grow up to 360 feet tall, living for more than 2,000 years.

Good advice from my elders. How does your community make you stronger?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

But Don't Pioneers Usually Get Shot?

California State University - Monterey Bay's Institute for Innovation and Economic Development honored myself and Amy with the Achievement for Innovation Award. This year's award went to innovators in the hospitality industry.

During the event, I listened to the spoken words about how we are pioneers and have changed an industry. I talked with students from around the state who look up to us asking our advice on how to facilitate change. I was interviewed by the press wanting to know what opportunities the local region can leverage to become leaders in sustainable hospitality. The attention was humbling as I sometimes struggle in the public eye.

But recognition for our work and the ability to share the knowledge are incredible gifts and I don't take them lightly. I am grateful and very optimistic about the future of our industry. My hope is our "pioneering" will provide a strong foundation for tomorrow's change agents.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Honeymoon is Over!

Yes, I am back to blogging once again now under the name Nancy J. Zavada. No need to worry though as I am still the same Meet Green Martyr. While getting acquainted with my new name is quite fun, a recent introduction really surprised me.

In front of a large group, the person introducing me had my new surname correct but announced our company name was, "GREEN MEAT." Well, you just can't win them all!