Tomorrow is Earth Day! It’s a good time to pause and reflect on how we’re treating the planet, our success and how we can collectively to do better.
As events professionals there are many opportunities for us to play a leadership role in environmental protection. And while meetings and events contribute to waste generation, many event professionals are taking a proactive approach to reducing the environmental impact of their events. A google search will quickly provide you with endless examples of people doing things differently to achieve this goal, below are just a few ideas of how you can get started.
- Go paperless! No better time than now to stop printing event brochures, speaker lists, signage, handouts, and session documentation. By digitizing paper heavy event processes we reduce the massive negative impact that over reliance on paper has. These impacts are seen in the pollution from paper processing, unnecessary landfill from paper waste, and surprisingly the impact from recycling. For more details this great wikipedia article delves into how paper consumption factors into climate change.
- Be a conscientious traveller. While travel is a must for event professionals we can minimize the impact of those trips through careful planning. Stay at hotels with environmental programs and look for venues that have environmental initiatives in place. You can also encourage your attendees to take advantage of these programs. Also think about how you can minimize your travel. Take advantage of being in a particular city if you’ve had to travel a long distance. Source multiple venues and meet with the local convention and visitor’s bureau to plan for other events while you’re there.
- Choose venues that focus on the planet. This follows from the last point, but in addition to your hotel selection, being particular about your venue choice if it’s not a hotel can also have a big impact.
- Think local. Source your food and beverage from local producers to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping and support local farmers and caterers. You’re helping the planet and giving back to local business.
And there is plenty more than can be done on a daily basis to lessen our impact on the world and inspire others to do the same. So take some time tomorrow (I know I will) and put together a plan or a pledge and inspire others by your example. Then next year, let’s look back on how far we’ve come and make bigger and bolder plans for the future.
For more information on Earth Day visit the official site. Have more ideas to share? I’d love to hear what you’re doing in the comments below.