Saturday, September 18, 2010

Is my conference green or just cheap?

Going Green Mama isn't begrudging the trip she took this week, just wonders if it could be better...

I just returned from a conference for work. Every communication we got, we heard about how the conference is green this year.

The presentations were available for download before the conference - no paper copies were available.

The bags were grocery bags from organic materials instead of the usual totes.

There were no water bottles to be found. They touted getting a travel mug when you were arrived, but none were to be found.

The badge lanyards were made of reclaimed and recycled materials.

But I'm wondering, while it was a good start, it felt more like a cost-reduction effort than a strong step towards being green.

For you party planners out there, check out what others are doing:

The NYU Hospitality Industry's reception food at designated green stations is grown locally, on New York and New Jersey farms. And their conference program book and quick reference guide were printed with soy ink on 30% recycled paper.

The NMBMA is donating excess materials to worthy causes. They're eliminating floral centerpieces and decreasing the number of shuttle trips between conference venues, making sure all hotels are within walking distance.

The Utility Payment Conference is promoting using public transportation to get to its event and using online tools whenever possible.

The NMC is contributing a portion of the conference revenues to offset direct emissions resulting from the venue space, hotel, meals and the travel of NMC staff, the NMC Board of Directors, and all the major speakers.

What are your suggestions for making conferences or corporate travel greener?

6 comments:

Tameson said...

Not surprised about the water bottles. Last year the Common Ground Fair in Maine decided not to sell pre-filled water bottles. People were encouraged to bring their own reusable container, and there were these really neat refill stations put up around the grounds.

About the reusable coffee mugs - If everyone received a reusable coffee mug to keep I'm pretty certain the footprint would've been just as a bad as if the conference had provided bottled water.

Always bring your own.

Green Bean said...

In many ways, being green and being economically wise, go hand in hand. It sounds like a good start - regardless of the motivation. However, I love the other ideas you mention - like food from local, organic farms. Of course, I've got a weakness for the local food movement.

Daisy said...

Reusable coffee mugs or water bottles would be great swag. They'd be eco-conscious and effective PR, as they'd last far beyond the conference.

Green and frugal often go hand in hand. I hope more conference organizers see the value in both ways.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

I agree with Tameson's comment about reusable mugs - I hate getting reusable bags and water bottles at conferences. They always have the logo of the conference or a sponsoring company on them, so I rarely ever use them (I have some reusable mugs that I've never used) and all those resources have been wasted.

annie said...

I think that there's a lot of push to develop and use more new "stuff" that is green, when really, reducing how much you use is the greenest way of all.

Robbie said...

Erin, we actually had an interesting drive at work a few months back - we collected those reusable insulated mugs and sent to the military in the middle east! It was much appreciated.

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