Did you know the trade show industry is second only to the construction industry in the amount of waste generated? Be a part of the difference by working with your hotels, venues and event partners to create a more sustainable carbon footprint. Share these “green wins” with your client and meeting participants to help them see the actions and savings that your event is creating.
When you are planning a meeting:
- Consider "walkable" destinations to save money on transportation such as shuttle buses.
- Ask hotels and caterers about their recycling policies.
- Supply newspapers to rooms only on guest request and refrain from setting the room a/c to "frostbite" prior to guest arrival.
- Request paperless signage (LCD screens) or design your signage to be reused. (Create arrows that can be removed from the sign; when room assignments change, simply reverse the arrows)
Travel and registration practices also can be greener:
- Request paperless check in/out.
- Supply meeting agendas by email or beamable to PDAs onsite.
- Supply walking routes to/from convention center and other venues.
- Try and find shuttle providers using cleaner energy sources such as natural gas, electricity, or biodiesel. Insist on a no-idling policy for vehicles when waiting for passengers or dropping off.
- Provide a location for attendees to turn in their name badges and lanyards for reuse -- collecting 1,300 name badge holders for reuse can save $975 at your next event.
In the meeting itself:
- Serve bulk water not individual bottles.
- Use smaller, biodegradable cups for hot and cold beverages when china is not available or appropriate.
- Request seasonal menus with ingredients sourced locally wherever possible.
- Serve at least one vegetarian meal such as pasta. Animal protein, particularly beef, is hard on the environment -- 150 percent more carbon-intensive than fish or chicken.
- Choose responsibly grown flowers for centerpieces. Consider edible flowers.
- Don't pre-fill water glasses at the tables.
- Supply presentations on thumb drives or post to a website.
- Use both sides of the paper for any necessary handouts.
Exhibit Based Events:
Spread the word on every communication you send that your exhibit is going green. Be sure to say that you consider this a process that will grow over time as you replace and update your booth architecture.
- Ask exhibitors to minimize paper collateral materials or use recycled materials and vegetable based inks.
- Encourage the use of recycled materials such as aluminum and polyester in booth design.
- Insist on carpeting, made from recycled fibers such as soda bottles.
- Provide the exhibitor and booth assignment list as a PDA download.
- Lighten the load with careful choice of materials and crates. A lighter exhibit means better truck fuel economy and lower drayage costs.
- Minimize giveaway literature. The Center for Exhibit Research estimates that 65 percent goes into the trash rather than the suitcase.
- Consider a thumb drive with company or product logo as a giveaway. Pre-load literature/sales sheets that would have been printed for the exhibit.
Whatever you do will make a difference. Even starting small, your impact can be great. For more information, review this list of questions to ask of your venue to gauge how sustainable they are and examples of green meetings in action.
Director, International Sales, Sands Asia
FICP Education Committee