Thursday, November 20, 2014

Looking for a Role Model?

Then look no further. The UUA General Assembly has just published it's 2014 Event Sustainability Report and it is another successful year for the planning team of Jan Sneegas, Don Plante, Steve Ransom and Stacey Dixon.

Highlights from this year's event include:
  • Converting the Convention Center to 100% compostable serviceware for all concesions and catering during the General Assembly.
  • Expanding the the recycling and composting programs at the Rhode Island Convention Center to include co-mingled recyclables and front of house food and serviceware.  The Dunkin Donuts Center offered composting for the first time.
  • Record-high contributions toward a carbon offset project.
  • 100% of exhibitors signed sustainability Terms and Conditions for their booths.
  • Hotel worker solidarity was an important issue as the UUA canceled contracts with two local hotels due to outstanding labor issues.

and the list goes on.

The planning team would tell you they didn't get there overnight or without the help of their vendors, volunteers and participants.  To help you along the way, they have shared a "road map" in the form of all past case studies posted on this website (scroll down for the past reports).  They share openly about their challenges, opportunities and successes.  Take a few moments to learn from the best.

2015 will find the UUA General Assembly in Portland, Oregon.  The team is already meeting with the city, convention center, hotels and vendors to make sure sustainable practices are in place.  Keep watching!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Saving Green by Going Green at the Pump

Ten years ago, my reason for buying a Prius was to be gentler on our planet.  I was concerned about reducing greenhouse gases and my dependence on oil (full disclosure: there are some who say I wasn't concerned enough to give up my car completely.  You are right, it is a journey for me too).

Two weeks ago, the Prius turned over 100,000 miles and all of the early hoopla about the batteries not lasting and other scary myths have been put to rest.  I calculated the cost of gas for driving those 100,000 at my average of 47mpg.  Based on $3.35/gallon (avg) paid at the pump, this was a total of $7,127.66.

Just for fun, my husband calculated the cost of gas for his business' pick-up truck, which also has 100,000 miles, and found he paid over $21,000 to drive the same distance.  I saved nearly $14,000 in gas alone by driving a hybrid!

It turns out, by "doing the right thing" for the environment, I did the right thing for my pocketbook.  Perhaps it is time to dust off the bike after all.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Taking the Leap to Paperless

No more binders full of paper, no more printing banquet event orders, no more copies of production schedules.  We did it!  Thanks to technology, resourceful team members and a true commitment to reduce our own event planning paper stream, this fall's event documents are now 100% electronic.

Carole Garner, Director of Conference Management, made it her own personal mission to go digital and through her leadership transformed the way we do business.  The team learned a lot during the testing phase and incorporated those learnings into a final product.  During a pre-con this week, the Grand Hyatt New York Conference Service Manager and staff said we were the first to go through a full week of events without one piece of paper.

In the picture of Carole above, you will also note, we were able to source name badges that don't require plastic name badge holders (Thanks to Shawna McKinley, Director of Sustainability).  The lanyard she is wearing will be reused.

If you want any details, please, just ask!  Those of you familiar with MeetGreen, know that we openly share our resources and don't believe fellow industry professionals should have to reinvent the wheel. 

After all, "One small step for man, one giant leap..."