An Event Planner's Introduction to Green Meetings and Events

Why Every Event Planner Should Be Familiar with Green Events

An eco-friendly office building.
An eco-friendly office building. Kohei Hara/Getty Images

According to the Convention Industry Council (CIC), a green meeting or green event incorporates environmental considerations into the entire planning process to minimize the event's negative impact on the environment. A green event is an event that is organized with the aim of minimizing waste and promoting sustainable actions, which goes far beyond the basic "green" practices like recycling. In fact, a truly green event is one that takes a comprehensive approach from reducing the amount of resources used to reusing recycled resources to ensuring event waste is disposed of properly by recycling or composting as much as possible.

Green events have become much more popular as "eco-friendly" became a trendy marketing buzzword and more people have become aware of the effects we have on our planet. In fact, many American universities have caught on to the trend and now offer and encourage university and student events to strive for sustainability or green event certification offered through the school. Professional and corporate event planners are now being tasked with similar green event goals.

Benefits of Planning Eco-Friendly or Green Events

Of course, the primary benefit of planning a green event is the benefit to the environment. While this should always be the primary driver or green events, event planners must recognize that it's a business as well. It can be strategic to "go green" both in terms of financial savings and reputation.

While many times, the eco-friendly option can be more expensive, certain aspects of green meetings and events can actually save money.

For instances, collecting name badge holders for reuse at an event of 1,300 attendees can save approximately $975 for the event organizer the next time around. Not only does this practice save resources, but it limits the investment that must be made to the initial purchase.

Of course, there are also the intangible benefits that many companies seek from holding green events and meeting.

Reaping the reputation benefit of a positive and trendy buzzword is generally part of a company's motivation - particularly when the "green" option is the more expensive or difficult option.

Planning an Eco-Friendly or Green Event

Before choosing an event destination, hotel, venue, transportation, etc., the event planner should consider what impact these services provided by suppliers would have on his or her objective to organize a green meeting or event. The event planner wanted to make sure that the selected suppliers considered elements of sustainability, including the recycling of their own products and services throughout the year. As it relates to the environment, using recycled materials, reusing items and reducing materials can significantly lessen the potential impact from events.

When it comes to being eco-friendly or "green," it is as much about what you don't use as what you do use. To be truly environmentally friendly, it's not just about the products you buy or the appearance of being green. If your corporate client strives to reap the eco-friendly reputation benefits from their green event, you might suggest including some educational material that explain to guests the ways in which the event is sustainable and how they too can make small changes for a greener lifestyle at work or at home.

Don't hesitate to promote the eco-friendly value of your event!

Green Event Resources

For more great resources on planning a green event, be sure to check out the following event planning articles:

4 Ideas For Making Your Event More Eco-Friendly

How Conference Organizers Can Ensure Sustainability Requirements

Green Hotel Initiatives

Sustainable Trade Show Exhibits