Why not make your next franchise convention GREENer than your last?
Whether you’ve been part of the sustainable trend or not, it’s no longer a fad. It’s fast becoming a way of life.
When I recently read the opening line of a meetings industry article, I was stunned:
“A few years ago, the meetings and events industry confronted a hard truth. The EPA deemed it the second most wasteful sector in the U.S. — following only building and construction — due to the massive environmental footprint of air travel, audiovisual equipment, food waste and more.”
-Nikki Gloudeman for Greenbiz
It got us thinking here at SPEAK! As you’re planning your next franchise convention or regional roadshows, what would be some effective ways to leverage your vendor partners to help find great sustainable options? Whether it’s your venue, caterer, audio-visual, décor, accommodation or transportation, in today’s market, it’s easy to make choices that are more environmentally responsible. Ask any potential vendors to provide you with their sustainability practices. If your prospective vendors don’t have this information readily available, that’s likely your answer. Here’s a useful link from the Green Meeting Industry Council’s Supplier Directory.
Here are some quick tips on how to incorporate GREEN practices into your next event:
- Minimize air travel by hosting events in a central location.
- Host all multi-session meetings at a central location to limit transportation needs.
- Choose hotels and meeting venues that are connected to the airport by mass transit and within walking distance of each other.
- Make it easy for attendees to travel between the airport and the hotel/meeting venue by providing information about the local public transit system, or arrange for carpooling shuttles.
- Minimize paper with web based invites, online event registration, an agenda app and electronic follow-up.
- When paper is necessary, utilize double-sided printing for all collateral and meeting related materials.
- Reuse signage where possible.
- Give recycled materials precedence when making meeting supply purchases.
- Decrease the usage of paper and plastic by using real china for all food and beverages.
- Ensure that your venue or caterer has a plan for composting or donating leftovers. (Food and beverage is a significant source of waste at events. Because it’s such a faux pas to run out of food, the typical reaction is to order it in abundance.)
- Inquire about local and seasonal menu options.
- Provide refillable water bottles and water coolers.
- Choose a venue with an in-house recycling program and encourage recycling.
And finally, involve your attendees in your sustainability goals! Leading up to the meeting, ask your franchisees for their ideas of how to make your meeting more sustainable, communicate your plans and choices, and encourage them to do their part wherever possible.
During the event, whether reusing a hotel towel, refilling a water bottle or utilizing public transportation, make sure they feel part of your team in creating a GREENer event than last year!
And of course, we’d love to hear your great ‘Green’ ideas. Sent us your suggestions of how to green up a franchise convention and we’ll share back with the community.
P.S. Can you guess the Top 10 Cities for Green Meetings were in 2014?