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Sustainable Ideas for Your Next Meeting

You’ve taken the time secure a dynamic and ecological site.  You’ve made sure the attendees will get to taste and enjoy the local food and flavors.  You’ve even taken steps to reduce your group’s waste and recycle when possible.  What else can be done to ensure the function is green?

Marc Cooper, the CEO of the global non-profit, the International Association of Conference Centres, stated in a 2019 NorthStar Meeting Group article, “With climate change and sustainability being in the spotlight not only within the industry, but across the globe, event organizers and meeting planners are becoming more conscious of their environmental footprint.”

Here are a few suggestions to make any event more eco-conscious, sustainable and even fun:

Green Sightseeing
Elise Schoening, a writer for Successful Meetings magazine, reminds us planners do not have to avoid city’s top attractions.  “The Empire State Building in New York City, for example, offers an innovative, multimedia exhibit on sustainability on the way up to its observation deck.”

Sara Simkin, the Vice President of Destination Services at NYC & Company said, “The (Empire State Building) experience looks at how the building has been retrofitted to achieve LEDD Gold status, while simultaneously educating visitors on how to implement sustainable practices in their own homes.”

Parks and Nature Reserves
Be sure to incorporate time to visit and explore the host destination’s conservation areas or national parks.  The conservator director, Jay Walea, at The Palmetto Bluff Conservatory, located in roughly 20,000 acres in low-county Bluffton, SC, said the Conservatory is “tasked with educating all who visits this special place on the importance of our history and our environment, so the legacy is carried on for years to come.”  Getting outdoors keeps attendees minds active, stimulates networking and creates a memorable experience.

Bees Are the Buzz
In Denmark, at Bybi’s honey farm, meeting attendees can visit with the bees, learn about the farm’s honey production and even taste samples of honey from different parts of the city.  The viewing of bee-keeping and the experience is unique and will stand out in the meeting attendee’s memory.

Peddle Around – Bike Tours
Start out on two wheels and view the host destination by peddling.  For example, Greenfleet Bikes in Nashville, TN offers guided tours that explore Music City’s, scenic parks, historic neighborhoods and a pit stop at local eateries.  In Yountville, CA groups can explore the Napa region, learn more about the vine-to-bottle process (tasting too!) all while taking in stunning vineyard views.  Napa Valley Bike tours even include power snacks to keep you going and bottle water to stay hydrated.

Lastly, when coordinating your next meeting or off-site outing, be eco-conscious, by bringing the group together to explore and experience the destination.  All of these steps will create a lasting impression for your attendees and showcase your efforts to make the meeting more sustainable.

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