5 Steps to a Green Meeting

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green meetings, sustainability, GMIC
Record the impact of your green initiatives so you can build on them for future events.

The Green Meeting Industry Council has broken down the key steps to take to design a green meeting—and to build a culture of sustainability moving forward. The GMIC’s  annual Sustainable Meetings Conference will be held June 17 to 19 at the Westin Peachtree Plaza. Find more information here.

Step 1: Create a plan for identifying your event’s sustainability objectives. This plan should include how you will achieve your objectives and what are the key performance indicators to track the success of your plan. Identify specific activities, (such as a certain percentage of waste diversion, percentage of local or organic meals, etc.) metrics for tracking, and outcomes you want to achieve for each objective identified and who is responsible for the end results.

Step 2: Establish or create an sustainable meeting policy for your team/department/meeting. Ideally, this policy will reflect your internal values of your company/organization to ensure that is supported by your event efforts.

Step 3: Ask your current vendors to support your plan at cost-neutral pricing. Include language in your RFP process and contracts that includes vendors reporting back to you with the data you need to track your performance. (The first year can be your benchmark year to evaluate and grow in future years).

Step 4: Track your performance. Just as we monitor our event budgets, we need to monitor and track the performance of our sustainability action plans. Post-event, ensure accurate reports so you can build on them for future years and use in your site selection process. 

Step 5: Be sure to pause, breathe and share the success of your action plan with attendees, vendors, media and the industry. The more you can quantify your results in human scale terms (amount of $$ saved, amount of trees, amount of CO2 kept out of the atmosphere), the more engaged you and your stakeholders will be for your plan the following year.


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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.