5 Tips for Planning a Green Meeting

min read

Simona Cherneva

Roof of a forest from below

The first month since New Year's Eve has passed and most of our good intentions have gone up in smoke. A healthier lifestyle at work, for example. Keep that up! The trend of "healthy meetings" will certainly continue well into 2022. People are now more aware of sustainability than ever before. A green meeting is geared up to minimize waste and take sustainable actions. Think from reducing the variety of resources used to reusing recycled resources.

We are proud that Meetingselect is a strategic partner of the non-profit foundation Hotels for Trees, which directly contributes to a greener hotel world. A hotel world where a new tree is planted every time a guest chooses to skip the daily room cleaning. The impact can be seen on the Hotels for Trees website the very next day and contributes directly to (re)forestation. Did you know that a guest who stays overnight in a hotel spends between 30kg and 50kg of Co2? And did you know that a cultivated tree saves 20kg of CO2 per year? So, let's all contribute and plant more trees because the world needs it. Follow the number of trees we have planted together at Hotels for trees. We also have exciting news to share about Hotels for Trees. More news will follow soon about that....

Forest picture from the groundPhotographer: Casey Horner | Source: Unsplash

Moreover, it is now easier than ever to plan green meeting. We have this to thank for the amazing new innovations in sustainable technology and processes.  Just a few simple changes can make a big difference in the carbon footprint of your event. So, read on and check out our top 5 ideas on how to have a green meeting:

1) Dump the paper

Think about all the processes that venues have to go through on a daily basis and the time involved. Whether it's invoices, contracts, admission forms, menus or seating arrangements, there are plenty of opportunities to replace paper with digital.

Contracts and invoices: Instead of sending paper invoices, use tools like DocuSign or PandaDoc, which allow you to exchange contracts & proposals digitally.

Chairtables & Charts: Skip ordering flip charts and instead opt for whiteboards. Did you know that per flipchart you save 0,2 kg of carbon footprint?

Invitations & Badges: Don't send paper invitations when you can use tools like Swoogo to create online registration forms and email invitations. If you're hosting an important meeting or event at your venue, badges play a crucial role in facilitating networking. But instead of using plastic badges and holders, you should opt for a sustainable alternative, for example badges made from corn starch. These are completely soluble.

Moreover, going paperless means that you are embracing digital. And that in turn sends a positive message to meeting and event planners who want to organize meetings in your halls. Going digital means not using paper. And not using paper means saving trees.

2) Choose green travel and transportation

It's no secret that multi-day meetings in the same hotels have a lower carbon footprint because attendees don't have to travel and can stay where they already are. Encourage the meeting planner and participants to think green when making travel decisions. When promoting the other ways to get to the venue, consider the closest walking paths or how to get to the venue by bike. You can even offer bike services to encourage attendees to ride around and explore the area without creating additional pollution.

3) Recycle and Reuse

It's a no-brainer to replace paper napkins and plastic cups with cloth napkins and glasses that can be washed instead of thrown away. But there's more you can do when it comes to recycling waste. The more people in your halls, the more waste. It's important to provide visitors with easily accessible color-coded trash cans. And to also label the bins clearly with descriptions of the types of items that can go in each bin.

4) Go green with your food (literally)

According to research by The Guardian, avoiding meat and dairy products is the biggest way to reduce the carbon footprint at events. So why not serve more vegetarian options or local produce that is in season? Local food has a smaller carbon footprint and is often fresher and tastier. In addition, don't let food go to waste. Why not donate leftovers to charities like the Robin Food Collective. Many organizations are set up to support people who can't afford tasty and nutritious meals.

5) Conscious = healthy

Pause the green meeting for a social or sustainable team building activity. There are more social and sustainability initiatives in your area than you might expect. In fact, fun and creative networking activities can be an opportunity for attendees to give something back to the community, such as cleaning up the local beach or planting trees. Check out your local area and ask around in your network. Another good example of a sustainable team building activity is organizing scavenger hunts throughout the city. This gets people moving, working together and exploring their surroundings.

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