Vendors Are Making It Easier. Hotels, convention centers, general service contractors and others are really stepping up to be more sustainable.

Five years ago, it was tough to find one of these suppliers with an environmental policy much less a product. Not so today. For them it is a competitive advantage, for planners, a welcome relief. Hint: If you start with a sustainable destination or city, your planning will become much easier. These destinations already have energy-efficient meeting venues, green hotels, walkable communities, mass transit, recycling and environmentally responsible vendors. Start by asking the CVB if they are a green destination and request a list of sustainable vendors during the site selection process.

What’s New May Be That It’s Not New. No longer just a trend, being sustainable is slipping into the mainstream. The public requires organizations to be good citizens and to display that at meetings.

Nowhere else is this more visible than at a gathering of your key stakeholders, and others will hear about it—guaranteed. If you aren’t constantly monitoring social media during your events to find out how your corporate image is coming across, you should be.

So, stay the course and continue making changes, even if it isn’t the latest “shiny bauble.” The latest “shiny bauble,” hybrid meetings, definitely has its roots in sustainability by requiring less travel, increased use of technology, and offering a new way to connect your attendees. Savvy professionals know both of these are here to stay and are embracing, not avoiding, the tools to keep relevant in today’s meetings market.

 

Nancy J. Zavada (Twtter: @nancyjzavada), CMP, is a leader, innovator and entrepreneur in the meeting planning and events industry and is a principal with MeetGreen, a Portland, Ore.-based conference management and consulting firm that she founded and which specializes in green meetings. Zavada is cofounder of the Green Meeting Industry Council, and is also the coauthor of Saving Green by Going Green, available at www.meetgreen.com. Her blog, “Pretentious Musings of a Meet Green Martyr,” shares resources, tips, ideas and funny stories about the life of a green meeting planner, and can be accessed at http://blog.meetgreen.com. To enquire about purchasing a checklist and other tools for planning a green meeting, contact MeetGreen at info@meetgreen.com.