Green corporate events are one of the most common production trends we see these days.
Conventions and corporate events are a great way to increase awareness of your business. However, they can take a toll on the environment. Why?
First of all, you may have people from across the state or country who commute to one location, expending fuel along the way. Once they arrive, they will also commute to and from restaurants, hotels, the convention center, and local attractions.
During the conference, they may pick up and dispose of brochures, schedules, promotional items, and food and drink containers. These visitors will also use a considerable amount of electricity and water during their stay.
All of this can add up to a challenge for an eco-friendly company. The good news is that you can work on policies for going green at your next corporate event. Here are six ways to help reduce your carbon footprint:
This can be especially vital in areas that have experienced drought in recent years. You don’t want people to go thirsty, but there are ways to eliminate water waste.
For instance, you can rent a water bottle refilling station. Attendees can get a tall glass of cold, filtered water at their convenience. This also reduces waste from plastic bottles. You may also want to offer a refillable bottle, thermos, or travel mug as a promotional item here.
Offer Eco-Friendly Catering
Are you considering offering on-site catered meals? There are a number of eco-friendly advantages here. This convenience means attendees won’t have to drive around an unfamiliar city looking for lunch. You can bring in local restaurants to provide food, building community goodwill and taking pressure off of smaller kitchens.
Finally, many catering services offer more than just plastic plates and utensils that will be headed for a landfill. For smaller events, you may want to consider a service that uses real metal utensils and ceramic plates. These can be washed and used again. However, for larger events, your best bet may be biodegradable options.
Offer Green Transportation Solutions
Do you have a number of attendees that will be staying at the same major hotels? This is a wonderful opportunity to hire a minibus and offer guests transportation to and from the convention center. If this isn’t an option, consider creating a Facebook group for carpooling networks. This will reduce the amount of transportation emissions produced by your convention-goers.
Go Paperless or Paper-light
Many conventions hand out schedules, lecture outlines, or pamphlets to attendees. Unfortunately, a lot of this paper just ends up in the trash can by the end of the day. You may want to consider paperless options like e-mailing convention center directions or a schedule of events to people ahead of time.
However, this may not always be practical. Another paper-light option is to print out on large poster-boards the schedule of events. This way, attendees can quickly look up when and where to go without additional waste.
Plan Ahead For Recycling
Even with the best efforts to reduce waste, some will still be produced. This is a great time to practice ‘Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle’ on a bigger scale.
One option here is to offer recycling bins for paper, plastic, metal, and glass around the convention space. Make sure that the city has recycling facilities for these first!
You can also reduce the amount that needs to be recycled through a wide variety of tactics like going paper-light (see policy 4), asking catering services to use minimal packaging, and offering water refilling stations (as in policy 1).
Another eco- and community-friendly option is to donate catered food. Reach out to local food banks and homeless shelters to see what they’ll accept. They could be regulated by state law as to what food they can take in. Your catering provider may know more about these options.
Choose Eco-Friendly Spaces
Some convention spaces have already taken strides toward being eco-friendly, meaning that they’ve done a lot of the work for you. These places may offer:
conveniently placed recycling bins
highly efficient low-flow toilets
solar power for at least some features such as the music system
eco-friendly lighting including compact flourescent bulbs or LED lights
electric or green shuttle services
eco-conscious HVAC systems that heat and cool only the rooms being used
existing relationships with eco-friendly service providers like catering agencies
convention spaces that have an on-site or nearby hotel allowing people to commute on foot
Every space will have its own strengths and advantages. You’ll want to communicate with the providers about what they can offer and whether it’s a good fit with your corporate event. There is no one-size-fits-all solution here as small events have different needs than large conventions.