Sustainable Meetings: 5 Simple Choices Make a Big Difference

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The landmark climate conference in Paris this past December, where nearly 200 countries for the first time agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions, has brought issues of sustainability to the forefront as never before, and hopefully will reinvigorate efforts to build create more sustainable conferences.

But you don’t have to start big to make an impact. In fact, if you think one simple step by one event professional doesn’t make a difference: think again. Even everyday decisions can make a big impact.

To illustrate, here are five simple, field-tested tips to get started. They appear in our new book, Meet Better: 167 Easy Ways to Make Your Events More Environmentally and Socially Responsible, written by myself along with Shawna McKinley and Mariela McIllwraith.

  1. Contract rooms at a green hotel with a linen reuse program. Savings: 4,000 gallons of water.
  1. Provide remote live-stream option to attendees. Savings 242,500 pounds of carbon emissions for 500 remote viewers.
  1. Replace text with a mobile event app and print on-demand: Savings up to two trees and 52,000 gallons of water.
  1. Provide reusable mugs and beverage refill stations. Savings: 6,000 cups and 840 pounds of landfill from coffee drinkers alone.
  1. Design a Meatless Monday lunch. Savings: 2.8 metric tons of carbon emissions based on a 1,000-person, three-day conference.
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