Nowadays simply putting together a conference or meeting with interesting speakers and agenda is no longer enough. In the digital age, our concentration spans are lessening, while an awareness of what else is happening across our industry can lead to dissatisfaction with yet another standard gathering.
These can be headaches enough for conference organisers, but increasingly there are demands for everything we do, at home and at work, to be as green and environmentally-friendly as possible.
But what does this mean for a conference, and what steps do organisers need to take to make their events demonstrably as green as possible? Fear not, we have plenty of tips for you.
You can start being green from the off, advertising as much as possible on social media sites and by email, so you’re not sending vast swathes of paper through the post. Obviously some paper materials are unavoidable, but use recycled paper for these and you’re still ahead of the green game.
When it comes to choosing a location, go for somewhere in a city centre, which is most likely to have good public transport links that participants can utilise. You may want to consider offering discounts to people who travel in this way, to encourage greater take-up. Consider having secure bike storage as well, for those who want to be even greener. You should also try to ensure that your venue does as much as possible to reduce and recycle its waste generally.
Food and beverage catering for the event should use a local company, so the amount of food miles is minimal. Ideally, choose a company that itself sources and uses local meats etc, as this is a double-win.
Provide recycling bins around the conference or meeting area, so that participants can easily recycle paper and any napkins that are used. Use proper cutlery and plates to reduce the amount of waste where possible, and recyclable disposables where this is not doable.
Consider where possible using experts from the local area, so that flights and car journeys are kept to a minimum. Again if possible, encourage these to come by public transport where practical.
Do what you can to ensure that hand-outs during talks and lectures are given on discs or hard-drives rather than print-outs, and that paper posters advertising your events or other upcoming ones are kept to a minimum.
Ensuring that all participants know about the green agenda should also keep it at the forefront of their minds, so that green behaviour becomes both natural and understood throughout the event.
This post was created by meeting room and conference venues in Oxford provider Meetings Four You.