It’s nearly misguided to call being eco-friendly a trend these days – being environmentally mindful about choosing properties, vendors, gifts, and more is a serious asset to the event planner, especially when the goal is to make sure you are maintaining corporate social responsibility.
There are several considerations when planning a green event or meeting but there are a few key choices that can help guide any planning process towards an eco-friendly outcome.
1: Pick your event or meeting property wisely
When planning for an event with the environment in mind, starting with the right venue and or/hotel can help set the tone for the rest of the planning process and the event itself. It’s easy to find a place that uses recycled napkins and claims to be “green,” but it can be a challenge to find a property that truly goes above and beyond in its commitment to the environment and its commitment to the high-quality service your attendees deserve. You’ll have to begin early to research all of the details to ensure you pick the right venue for your needs. An example of a property that is committed to living up the green label is the 1 Hotel in South Beach. Each aspect of the property demonstrates responsible sourcing and stewardship, right down to the eco-friendly sugarcane hard hats crew were required to wear when building the property. Choosing the right property can help you find the level of green that is right for you and your client. When you get a handle of the property’s environmental responsibilities and commitments, you’ll be able to assess what you need for the rest of your planning process to be an environmental and economic success.
2: Don’t forget to consider your gifts
To make an event be truly green, make attendees feel personally involved in the initiative. One of the simplest and most impactful ways to do this is through the gifts and promotional products you distribute to your attendees. Gift vendors offer a wide range of green options such as seed paper products, recycled materials, and sustainably sourced products. But the real challenge is finding something truly unique and memorable while still maintaining the highest standard for eco-friendly goods. Consider up-cycled high-end handbags, unique wine glasses made out of recycled glass, or gifts made from genuine reclaimed wood. Regardless of the type of environmentally friendly gifts you should choose, remember to tell the story of the item. It will make your attendees feel closer to the experience knowing the backstory and the role that they play in these pieces. Were the monogrammed cutting boards made from 100-year-old reclaimed barn wood? Will the jotting pads distributed throughout the week grow into wildflowers if thrown into some soil? Spend some time telling the story of the event, and attendees are sure to remember the experience.
3: Focus on local
Going local when choosing activities and specific vendors is a strong choice for your meeting or event. Not only can you save on shipping and transportation, you support a local economy and cut carbon emissions by keeping your choices local. A fantastic meal option that encompasses the best of this movement are farm-to-table restaurant experiences. You can make this as immersive an experience for attendees as you like – many farm-to-table operations have the option for guests to pick the food from the local garden beforehand and assist in the preparation. Choosing farm-to-table foods will make you’ll feel good knowing that the dining experience was good for the environment and memorable for your attendees. For a unique gift experience, consider utilizing a local vendor to create a pop-up store where attendees can choose what they’d like. On incentive trips, this has the added benefit of bringing some of the destination’s culture to your event, along with the local gifts.
Approaching the planning of a green event or meeting can easily become overwhelming. But we often tell our clients that the options are more than you might think and they give you new opportunities for creativity and for creating a truly memorable program that has a positive impact on both your attendees and the environment.