From paper straws to composting to reducing plastic use and overall disposal, people and companies everywhere are doing whatever they can to be more sustainable. At home and in the office, it can be easy to make changes but what about meetings hosting hundreds of attendees? I reviewed what we (the Meetings Team at Talley Management Group) does and together, we shared our ideas of how we integrate sustainability into our client partner events and meetings.
- Fill’er Up! Make water stations available in every meeting room or water pitchers with glasses on tables if the setup allows. This limits the need for individual bottles of water during meals. In addition, people can fill up their own reusable water bottles- a sponsorship opportunity that can be included in the event’s exhibit prospectus to promote sustainability. Many companies are also doing what they can to be sustainable and eliminate waste and sponsoring a water bottle does just that while also promoting their brand.
- Tell To-Go Cups to Go Elsewhere Stop providing to-go cups during coffee breaks. This not only helps make the coffee stretch across more attendees by using glass mugs but also minimizes waste, cutting out the need for paper cups, lids, a sleeve and even stirrers. Providing reusable mugs and spoons is all you need!
- Deconstructed Meals This may sound minimal, but it makes a big impact on food waste. “Make-your-own” stations at buffets allow people to make their own salads, sandwiches, etc. rather than not taking something that is already made up because it has something on it that they dislike or can’t eat, directly causing food waste.
- Paper Free Zone at the Reg Desk Eliminate handouts or pamphlets at the reg desk. Most attendees don't read them or if they do, they leave them behind and litter the registration area. Add the need-to-know information to the meeting app.
- Digital Presentations Most presenters are now being required to upload their presentations prior to the meeting or event. Meeting managers then make the presentations available to attendees once the meeting has started and they have logged in to the meeting website. This methodology eliminates handouts and encourages attendees to go right to the meeting website, increasing overall traffic and marketing of the event. They can also follow along during the presentation on their own device, taking notes as they wish.
- CME Credit Registration Obtaining CME credits used to be a pen and paper process and has now gone digital making it streamlined, sustainable and organized.
Hotels and convention centers are also doing their part by turning off lighting in meeting rooms when sessions are not taking place, making recycling bins more accessible and easier to find and even having water fountains that include a bottle filling station. Sustainability can be done in simple ways that lead to making substantial improvements for the environment and overall well-being of others.
How are you practicing sustainability?