People who are looking to leave a smaller carbon footprint like to associate with businesses and organizations that feel the same way. In fact, 84 percent of consumers worldwide say they seek out environmentally and socially responsible products whenever possible.
So, if your association can up the ante on its sustainable meeting practices, you might earn some genuine member kudos—in addition to doing Mother Earth a solid.
Here are four ways meeting planners go outside the normal avenues—recycling, printing on both sides, digital-only session handouts—to conduct a greener meeting.
1. Consider going zero waste.
This might sound really daunting, but don’t tune out yet.
First off, the definition of zero waste is actually 90 percent of waste diverted from landfills. And accomplishing that usually comes down to offering composting for uneaten food.
Jessica Davis, director of the Office of Sustainability at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), took her first stab at a zero-waste event when IUPUI’s natatorium hosted the 2016 U.S. Olympic diving trials.
In planning the event, Davis found that “If you give [attendees] waste they will generate waste,” she said. So she worked with food services to create less waste and offer composting. For example, the venue switched from plastic to wood coffee stirrers (which can be composted) and offered condiment pumps instead of individual plastic packets.
“At the end of that planning meeting with food services, we were able to eliminate almost all of the trash we would be giving to people,” Davis said.
In the end, the event’s diversion rate was 93 percent, which earned it the “Green Sports Alliance Innovators of the Year” honor.