Meetings Today: Do you offer sustainable meetings components?

Angie Silberhorn: No, not “green meetings,” but we always strive to use and increase green practices whenever possible, such as reducing paper programs and handouts by providing information electronically online and in a mobile app. -- Angie Silberhorn, CMP, Conference Director, Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC), Oak Brook, Ill.

Illene Page: We're going to more electronic information as opposed to printed--education is pretty simple. -- Ilene Page, Global Meeting & Event Planner, Front Page Events, Palo Alto, Calif.

Gary Schirmacher: Yes, we have a department within Maritz Global Events that works with clients, venues and destinations to make sure that all stakeholders to the event have plans in place, including the client, venue and city, and have the ability to provide quick and efficient communication with ALL attendees in case of an emergency or issue. We follow what’s happening with EMSSI and those partnerships, and how attention to security and safety are good habits for any event to embrace. Having less paper before during or after an event helps in many different ways. Recycling, re-purposing and being conscious about waste is an important thing for planners and organizations to think about. The phone is always a palm away, so more groups should make it easy for people to use their phone, tablet or laptop to access quickly and free any and all information related to that event. -- Gary Schirmacher, CMP, Senior Vice president, Industry Presence & Strategic Development, Experient, A Maritz Global events Company, Boulder, Colo.

Liz Whitney: We have moved toward green meetings slowly. We used to provide printed materials all the time. We cut back significantly in this area. We are more conservative in the volume of food offered at many events and have often asked the venues if we can scale down the number of offerings a buffet may have and how they dispose of excess food that always occurs. Also, we are more cognizant when siting a venue to notice and/or ask if the venue recycles paper, plastic, etc. -- Liz Whitney, WLP, International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA), Des Plaines, Ill.

Wendy Sutowski: No. It is not a priority currently, but where a venue has a system in place we do encourage it to be promoted to our attendees.--Wendy Sutowski, CMP, Director of Events, The American College, King of Prussia, Pa.

Gina E. Allega: At this time, the account has not shown any interest in green initiatives specifically for meetings. We haven't gotten requests to seek those options out specifically. I think down the road this may become more important to our hosts. -- Gina E. Allega, CMP, Senior Program Manager, Meeting & Event Services North America, BCD Travel, Cleveland

Debbie Kopkau: Not really. We do what we can when we can but sometimes the inconvenience of the members is not worth the change. -- Debbie Kopkau, Director of Certification, MBA, CAE, CMP, GMS, Michigan School Business Officials, Lansing, Mich.

Scott Shellman: We’ve worked with our clients to become more environmentally friendly with their meetings. We’ve eliminated water bottles, for the most part, during breaks. We’ve eliminated decaf coffee from our breaks, which helps save energy in brewing, as well as saving our client money on an item that very few guests will utilize. We give out gift cards to the in-house coffee stand for decaf drinkers. As more hotels move toward electronic signage and wayfinding, we‘re able to print fewer foam core directional signs, room signage, etc. We’re also working with hotels to provide leftover breakfast/lunch items on a.m./p.m. breaks. -- Scott Shellman, Principal, Framework Meetings and Destinations, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 

Geoffrey S. Duncan: Yes. We are eliminating most all paper forms of communications: catalogs, cut-sheets, brochures, etc., for digital versions. -- Geoffrey S. Duncan, Director of Sales & Marketing, Radius Display Products, Dallas

Jack Molisani: Not really. Green meetings seem like a fad, and I question the amount of greenness or carbon-neutral-ness is actually accomplished. For example, a hotel saying they aren’t going to change sheets every day “because it is good for the environment” to me seems like a thinly veiled attempt to avoid the bottom-line cost of doing so. That said, if there IS a green option offered (such as using cornstarch-based tableware instead of plastic), we will use it. But we are certainly not marketing that we are doing so. -- Jack Molisani, Executive Director, The LavaCon Conference, Long Beach, Calif.

Carl Lambrecht: To me this is not a real concern to my attendees. -- Carl Lambrecht, General Manager, Laurel Industries, Highland Park, Ill.

Don Pietranczyck: We have not moved toward green yet. -- Don Pietranczyk, Senior Manager, Experiences and Activations, New York City

Diana Bryant: We don’t do much in this area other than no bottled water is available at our events. We use water stations and these are complimentary at most venues. It also saves us a great deal of money. The other thing is that we don’t print much of anything anymore. We only print a name badge with a basic agenda printed on the back for attendees to pick up at registration. We don’t print presentations--they are available through our app and on our website--and our only printed marketing is a mailed postcard for each event. (We do still send a brochure for one event.) -- Diana Bryant, Director, Conferences & Meetings, TVPPA (Tennessee Valley Public Power Association), Chattanooga, Tenn.

Kay B. Clark: This has not been a huge priority for us yet as far as paper and plastic. We do talk with our vendors about food waste and how to limit it. Each venue is different and moderately successful. -- Kay B. Clark, CMP, Director, Meetings & Events, Material Handling Industry, Charlotte, N.C.

Samantha Vogel: We try to move toward more sustainable options each year, implementing things like flavored gallon water as opposed to bottled water, and we do try to donate any leftover food to local shelters. However, some things like our show guide we’ve decided make too much of a positive impact to move away from right now. We also tried to donate our Expo carpet through our GSC, but logistically, they said it wasn’t really viable. I think we can definitely make more strides toward sustainable meetings. But everything we do, we do with our attendees and sponsors in mind first and foremost. -- Samantha Vogel, CMP, Sr. Manager, Meetings & Travel, GameStop, Inc., Dallas

Tracy Orpin: Not currently, but hope to do more in the future. I have educated myself on it. I just need the hotel(s) and area to be more involved and willing to work toward the goal of being more sustainable. -- Tracy Orpin, CMP, IAAP, Kansas City, Mo.

Katie K Riggs: We try to be as conscious of sustainability as possible, however, I wouldn’t say we have any green meetings. -- Katie K Riggs, CMP, CMM, CAE, HMCC, VP, Client & Conference Services, Raybourn Group Int., Indianapolis

KD O'Neal: Our institution is moving toward sustainable meetings but it has been a slow progress. -- KD O'Neal, CMP MBA, Conference & Event Services Manager, University of Dallas, Irving, Texas

Jef Robinson: Work in progress, although we do take sustainability into consideration during the meeting or event lifecycle. -- Jef Robinson, Global Category Manager–Travel & Meetings, Anonymous, London

Chere L. Brooks: Yes, we provide water bottles for our attendees instead of water stations in meeting rooms; digital conference programs and apps. Reusable signage. -- Chere L Brooks, Learning Events Manager, Habitat for Humanity International, Atlanta

Leslie Zeck: We ask for each convention center to provide us with the sustainability plan and to help us be “greener” for our meetings as best as possible without costing us anything extra. -- Leslie Zeck, CMP, CMM, HMCC, Director of Meetings, International and American Associations for Dental Research, Alexandria, Va.

Megan Martin: We are trying to reduce the number and amount of paper materials we offer at our meetings. We just did our first meeting with no full printed program. I see more of this in the future. -- Megan Martin, CMP, MPA, Senior Meeting Manager, National Conference of State Legislatures, Denver