Monday, January 30, 2012

Name Badges Change Lives

Looking for an innovative solution to name badge collection for reuse? Look no further!

IMEX America 2011 ran a badge-back legacy program sponsored by Estoril. As participants left the exhibit hall they had the opportunity to recycle their badges into one of two distinct badge boxes. One bin was for Opportunity Village, a local non-profit employing people with intellectual disabilities. The other bin was for The Shade Tree, a local grassroots non-profit with a mission to provide a safe shelter to homeless and abused women and children. For every badge recycled a donation was made to support one of the projects.

Not stopping at the bins, there was also time during the event to tour both of these organizations. Exhibitors were asked to donate items from the show floor to the Thrift Store at Opportunity Village as well.

This is a brilliant strategy which incorporated a sponsorship opportunity; environmental initiatives of collecting name badges for reuse and donations from exhibitors; and a social initiative to support local non-profit organizations. Everyone wins!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Top 12 Green Practices to Ask For

The MeetGreen Conference Management Team recently voted on their favorite green practices to ask for when planning a conference or event. I am sure they won't mind if I share, so here are their top 12 "asks:"

  • Ask for recycling at the facility
  • Ask for a towel and linen reuse program
  • Ask for no bottled water to be served
  • Ask for bulk condiments and beverages
  • Ask for excess food to be donated
  • Ask for banquet water glasses not to be pre-filled
  • Ask for use of china and linens; no disposables
  • Ask if the venue has electronic signage
  • Ask about sustainable, local food
  • Ask for signs to be made of a sustainable material
  • Ask for recycled content paper for printing or ask for no printing at all
  • Ask client to communicate sustainability efforts and options to attendees.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Volunteers Left a Legacy

"It was the passion of the volunteers." I heard this testimonial from three Convention Services Managers of three different meeting venues. Each of the managers told me (on separate occasions during ESPA) they had made significant environmental changes in advance of the conference coming to their town, but until they saw how important these initiatives were to the participants and volunteers, it didn't hit home.

Thanks to the volunteers working with the facilities to help recycling and other green efforts, these CSMs understand how vitally important sustainability is on a personal level. They also related that it is because of the passionate volunteers, these initiatives are still in place at the facilities long after the conference has moved on.

The conference they were all telling me about? The UUA General Assembly

Friday, January 13, 2012

Best Speaker Gift EVER

Last weekend at the ESPA Conference, I taught convention service managers how to serve as a green meeting resource for planners. Afterwards, I was given the opportunity to have a donation to a local charity made in my name as a speaker gift. Speakers were able to choose from the San Diego Rescue Mission, San Diego Animal Rescue or the San Diego Food Bank. How proud and honored I was to be given this gift of helping charities in the San Diego community. I can't think of a better speaker gift!

Speaking of gifts, the ESPA centerpieces were beautiful apples. These apples were going to be donated to the San Diego Rescue Mission. During his keynote presentation, Chef Jeff Henderson, best selling author of From the Streets to the Stove, noticed the apples on the tables. He told the audience that as a child receiving boxes from the food bank, all the food was either packaged or canned and what he missed more than anything was fresh fruit. He then thanked the organization and participants for being so thoughtful. Very thoughtful, indeed!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Which CSR Degree Will You Earn In 2012?

Here are three degrees of social responsibility for you to consider when deciding your event's CSR involvement for 2012:

First Degree: Feel Good, Look Good
The most popular form of social responsibility for meetings falls into this category. This includes donation and volunteer projects. These kinds of projects contribute to a sustainable cause, but they are also equally directed at providing promotional benefits to the donor agency. These kinds of socially responsible acts can be measured in terms of number of media opportunities, and the financial value of exposure.

Second Degree: Responsible Action in Planning
This year, some meetings are starting to take things to the Second Degree. This includes actions that integrate social responsibility into fundamental planning actions, like procurement and hiring. There are often direct financial implications to this kind of action, some positive, some negative. For example fair trade-certified goods can cost more, however these increases can be neutralized by savings associated with using local staff for events.

Third Degree: Advocacy for Social Responsibility
The brave new world of social responsibility involves taking a stand to change practice. This is where social responsibility can start to become a little uncomfortable, and down-right revolutionary. Have you ever thought about how human rights factors into destination selection? What does the destination say about you and your organization? Do your suppliers act on social responsibility?

Whether taking it to the first, second or third degree each step is progress toward embracing our organization's opportunity to use meetings to improve quality of life.

Source: Having a Human Impact, Shawna McKinley, March 2010