Thursday, May 29, 2014

Data is a Beautiful is Water

photo of the Oregon Coast by Nancy Zavada
Data is a beautiful thing.  It helps you tell a story, understand the significance and ultimately, demonstrate you are doing the right thing.  The right thing, like conserving water.  In today's "radical transparency" world of social media, your personal, professional or organization's reputation may depend on it. Just a few tweets by watchful participants at a conference can significantly impact your reputation in either a positive or negative manner.

Initial data from the Living Future unConference 2014 helps tell the story of a sustainable meeting.  The conference organizers made informed choices and the data makes it real.  For instance, they...

  • Chose chicken instead of beef for the dinner event saving 257,750 gallons of water.
  • Chose apples instead of tropical fruit such as bananas saving 9,536.75 gallons of water.
  • Chose a hotel with a linen-reuse program saving 1,340 gallons of water, thanks to attendee participation.
  • Provided tap water for attendees to refill their reusable water bottles saving enough energy to run an average American household for 2,062 hours.  Note: changed from tap to a filtered water system after Portland announced a Contaminated Water Alert during the conference.  Even with this alert, no individual bottles of water were consumed (a blog post unto itself).
These are in addition to other policies we posted about earlier such as serving 100% either local or organic food or verifying recycling during the event.

If you haven't already, start today collecting data, measuring, reporting and sharing your story.  Let them catch you doing something right, it's a beautiful thing

Source: Fun facts generated by  "If One Attendee" tool.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

100% Fresh, Local, Organic Meals at a Hotel? You Bet!

The challenge...serve 100% local or organic food at the Living Future unConference 2014.  In our experience, this has never been done before for a group of over 1,000 people for three days.

Bryan Siegel, Executive Chef, Hilton Portland & Executive Towers, was up to the challenge this week.  He diligently sourced the conference menus and was able to serve 100% local, organic or both local/organic food (in many cases). Fresh, healthy food to feed the innovative participants of this event and support of the local farmers, ranchers and companies.

With a huge thank you to Chef Bryan, the Hilton Banquet staff, and all of the community farms and vendors who worked so hard on our delightful meals (roll credits)...

Mary Organic Chicken
Zenners – sausages
Carlton – pork loin
Beecher’s Cheese
Tillamook Cheese
Stieber Farm – Eggs
Columbia Valley Organic Juice
Nancy’s Yogurt
Rumiano Family Cheese 
Essential Baking – bread
Marsee Bakery – breakfast pastries, cookies, desserts
Bob’s Red Mill Granola
Ryan’s Juice
Odwalla Juice

Broetje Orchards
Viva Tierra
Rainier Fruit
Cal-Ore Potatoes
Food Source
Deardorff Family
Field Fresh
Del Cabo
New Horizon

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Is Our Meeting Sustainable?

If you are attending the Living Future unConference 2014, relax we've got you covered.

Even before you made plans to attend, The Living Future Institute conference organizers and MeetGreen team were on the job, planning an environmentally-responsible event.  The first step was choosing a Green Seal and Green Key Certified hotel, the Hilton Portland & Executive Towers.  The hotel is in a walkable community with access to mass transit from the airport, local shopping and dining.

It is not enough to select the hotel and hope all of the green initiatives are in place, the team must also verify these practices before the event begins.  So yesterday, one day before the unConference 2014 was set to begin, we took a back-of-house tour where we saw all of the systems in action and breathed in the sweet smell of composting material.

Here's what we found:
  • Recycling bins in the meeting rooms and guest rooms
  • A 2014 year-to-date waste diversion rate of 72.74%
  • An elaborate waste system which has eliminated two days of garbage hauls per week
  • Three master recyclers on staff
  • 1,500 lbs. of plastic wrap is recycled each year
  • and a composting bin tipper, affectionately named "Tipper Gore" by Don George, Hilton's Composting Guru

It must be said all of these sustainable efforts take place at a downtown hotel with less loading dock space than most people's back decks.  It is a 24-hour process to bring compost and recyclables from the five kitchens in two buildings.

So check-in, grab your name badge and rest easy, we've done the heavy lifting for you.  Stay tuned for the 100% local or organic food to be served.  It will be a first in our experience!