Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Save $41,000 Each Year

Country Inns and Suites by Carlson is doing just that by eliminating disposable service ware in breakfast areas, according to an article by Glenn Hasek in Green Lodging News. Here are the facts:
  • Cumulative annual costs for non-disposables = $35,000. The cost of disposable products = $76,000 (including dishwasher installation and operation)

  • Return on investment: One year payback

  • Current waste volume: 256 pounds of trash per day average in the breakfast areas, 121,000 pounds of trash system-wide each day and 44 million pounds of trash generated system wide each year. Most of the waste expected to be eliminated.

  • Positive guest response during detailed testing

Saving green by going green…now that’s what I am talking about! Thanks for running the numbers, Steve Mogck, Chief Operating Officer!
For the full scoop, read Glenn’s article

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's All About Sex

No, this isn't one of those "birds and bees" talks unless we are talking about how nature, the environment AND business will benefit from traits long known as "feminine." In her article, Gender and the Sustainable Brain, Andrea Learned explains that traits like empathy, a focus on communication and social connections also seem to be at the root of sustainable personal and organizational behavior.

In fact, Learned says, "Empathy may be key to promoting sustainability. When a person is in the habit of considering the well-being of others as she makes her own decisions, she is more likely to anticipate the longer term and broader implications of each choice or opportunity."

Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface Inc., a global leader in sustainable business, writes in his book, Mid-Course Correction, "Caring for human capital and natural capital (Earth) as much as we have traditionally cared for financial capital will give social equity and environmental stewardship their rightful places alongside economic progress, and move society to reinvent the means for achieving economic progress itself."

The article is full of great stats and well worth the read. It may just change the way your organization approaches business in today's consumer market.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

To All Change Agents

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. ~Chief Seattle, 1855

Thank you for making a difference!

Friday, April 15, 2011

We're In This Together

Do you have a green team for your event or conference? If not, why not? Working together with all of your key stakeholders can move the sustainability initiatives at a much faster pace. Leaders in our industry understand this and have initiated green teams which include representatives from the:
  • Destination
  • Meeting Venue
  • Hotel
  • Transportation Company
  • Caterer
  • Sponsors and Exhibitors
  • Procurement Departments
  • Agencies (especially international events)
  • General Services Contractors

Many times we develop an adversarial relationship when the give and take of contract negotiation is involved. Instead look at the bigger picture and enroll these businesses this project so both of you can gain. From the very beginning, to tell your key stakeholders what’s in it for them, such as:

  • Your Relationship: Let them know they are a vendor/partner who you consider a valued member of your event team. By working together on a green team, you can develop new solutions and add to both the environmental and economic bottom lines of the event. Your relationship will only get stronger and less likely to be put out to competitive bid.

  • Competitive Advantage: By developing new green practices while working with a client such as yourself, vendors can promote these same practices on projects with other clients giving them a competitive advantage over less sustainable companies. Cost of research and development will be reduced.

  • Economic Benefit: Cost savings are often associated with green measures. This is especially true with vendors such as hotels or meeting venues when energy and water saving measures are adopted.

  • Industry Standards: The soon to be released APEX/ASTM standards require that vendors and planners report their green practices together to meet the standards. Why not have this piece of the standards puzzle already in place.

  • Enhanced image: In addition to assisting their organization to be a low risk enterprise, stakeholders may work towards gaining a green certification or win local, national or international award. Media attention for “doing the right thing” is also readily available.
Examples of these teams in action were discussed on the webinar, Building your Green Event Team: Create Successful Stakeholder Partnerships. Here is a link to archived version on the GMIC website.

I invite you to learn more!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Now You're Talking My Language

The Next Sustainability Wave: Building Buy-in and the Business Case was the title of Bob Willard’s webinar today. I feel compelled to share a few of the many pearls of wisdom he shared. His advice when building the business case and talking to business executives about sustainability, is to talk in their language, not necessarily yours. Make it relevant to their world of stockholders, risk management, and economic indicators. For example:

Asset Management – Use this term to describe what is often called the “triple bottom line.” Refer to the economic capital, natural capital and human capital.

Smart Business – can replace the term “sustainable business.”

Low Risk Enterprise – let them know the initiatives you bring forward will lower their risks now and in the future while making them piles of money.

According to Mr. Williard’s study, small to medium enterprises embracing sustainability will see a 66% increase in profit over the next five years (three, if they are aggressive). Large enterprises will see a 38% increase in profitability in five years.

It was an outstanding webinar and they have promised to link the recorded version on the Transitioning to Green website He also promised his slides would be available which he wants people to take, use and share in hopes of creating more change in the world

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thanks For The Reminder

The work of developing a more sustainable meeting industry is vitally important to the health of our planet. I know that. Although, sometimes in the day-to-day struggle of reviewing standards, tracking measurement and listening to political discourse, I admit to losing sight of the connection. My connection to nature.

Last week, I took time away to remember why I do this work, why it is important and why I am not through yet. Hiking through the forest to a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean drinking in the smell of the pine trees mingled with the salt air, my busy mind became very calm. I watched others, who had been talking and gesturing loudly at the beginning of the trail, settle into whispers or complete silence by the time they arrived at the sea. The rustle of the wind through the trees, the call of the sea birds and the rhythm of the crashing waves were the only sounds necessary.

At that moment, I remembered why and was renewed in my efforts.