Planning a conference or even a company meeting can easily consume lots of resources. Beyond the man-hours that go into planning and executing such an event, consider the amount of paper, electricity, food and water that are used over the course of the conference itself. When you add up each name tag, itinerary, spreadsheet and welcome packet that has to be printed for attendees, it is easy to see how they can have a significant financial and environmental impact.
By implementing eco-friendly measures in the early planning stages, you can easily give your event a “green” makeover. When you begin outlining a plan for the conference, write down a list of eco-friendly goals that need to be kept in mind throughout the process. The simple rules of efficiency that are applied to everyday life in the office can generate even bigger savings when used on a larger scale. By choosing to limit your mailing list to only active members and printing all conference materials double-sided, you immediately cut down on wasted paper. Better yet, allow conference attendees to download and print materials from your website ahead of time.
If your conference is being held at an off-site location, carefully consider your options before signing a contract. Hotels and conference venues with easy access to public transportation allow attendees to forego gas-guzzling rental cars. When considering prospective locations, ask about their recycling policy and whether they offer any other “green” options. Similarly, many caterers and other contractors now have eco-friendly versions of their services available upon request.
If you have some flexibility and want to create a truly unique experience, schedule all or part of your event at a planetarium, science museum or outdoor space. Simply being in a different setting will intrigue attendees and add another layer of importance to an environmental message. For events held in a more traditional setting, offering a morning group walk/jog before the first session can get people outdoors and in touch with their surroundings.
Once the conference is underway, think creatively to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible. Instead of printing name tags for attendees, purchase reusable plastic name tag holders and let people insert their own business cards in them. This also allows people to be easily identified with the company they are representing, and tag holders can be recollected at the end of the conference. Swap Styrofoam coffee cups for mugs printed with the conference logo. Not only does this prevent excessive waste, but it also serves as a fun freebie for those in attendance to take home at the conclusion of the event.
To ensure maximum success of all of your “green” efforts, be sure to widely publicize what you are doing. Incorporate an environmental message into relevant presentations, and ensure recycling bins are clearly labeled and visible, especially near food vending areas. An insert into conference materials can also encourage attendees to do simple things like turn off all lights in their hotel room when they are leaving and separate recyclables from the rest of their trash.
Implementing “green” initiatives can seem drastic and overwhelming if you have never considered them before. However, making even small changes to decrease waste can have a huge environmental impact for the better. Choose a few areas of your event to tackle in an eco-friendly way and build from there as you see the positive results grow.
To cap off your next “green” event, feature one of these gold-standard keynote speakers with an eco-friendly twist:
Award-winning conservationist Dr. Reese Halter became involved in environmental causes early in his childhood. Since then, he has gone on to become a nature documentary host, syndicated science writer and overall outdoorsman.
Presenting the challenges and benefits of going green in a humorous light, satirist Bob Hirschfeld proves once and for all that environmentalism is, in fact, “Funny Business.” This former “Tonight Show” writer lightens the mood with his motivational approach.
As founder and president of The Foundation on Economic Trends, Jeremy Rifkin examines the impact of new technology on the environment and global economy. After proving his expertise in advisory roles to several European Union heads of state, Rifkin now tackles the challenge presented by global economic recovery, energy security and climate change.
To schedule an eco-friendly speaker for your event, visit our Contact Us page. For more information about these and other speakers, visit our Environmental Speakers page.
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