MPI Perspective - December 2009 - (Page 12)

Being Green Is Not a Destination “Being green is not a destination; it’s a process,” says Robert Marshall of Inn Marin, who recently hosted the Green Meetings – Making it Real summit in celebration of Inn Marin’s 10th anniversary and its recent state certification at the leadership level for California’s Green Hotel Certification program. Inn Marin partnered with Northern California Meetings + Events, Pure Luxury Transportation and the newly formed Green Meetings Industry Council Northern California Chapter (GMICNCC), dedicated to transforming, promoting and supporting the local region as the premier green event destination through education, networking and sustainable practice. The program began with an inspiring keynote by Hunter Lovins, who stressed the positive impact sustainability has on a company’s bottom line as well as on our planet. The all-star presenter line-up included many of our own MPINCC members who also helped form the new GMICNCC. The results? Some great takeaways on how we can all think big and start small to make a difference. • • • By Kris Hillard • As a planner, include green components in RFPs, such as donation programs, in-house recycling or reduction of harmful chemicals. Focus on the positive social, environmental and financial impact of being green. If planning an ongoing annual event or conference, start small with your goals, but benchmark progress each year to evaluate ROI. Work together, discuss options, be transparent and make decisions that provide progress for everyone involved in the process. The Smallest Details • Plan fewer meal breaks. As pointed out by panelist Stephen Silva, chef/partner, Melon’s Catering, “Do we really need to feed meeting attendees three meals and two snack breaks in an eight-hour day?” He continues, “By eliminating one or both snacks or modifying the meals, not only are we reducing calories, but waste.” Cut back on transportation or number of pick-up and dropoff points and suggest that attendees walk off some of those (aforementioned) calories. “Not only does cutting back on the transportation cut down our carbon footprint, but it also reduces costs,” says Sue Klick, senior corporate meeting manager, Medtronic. In order to accommodate the reduction in transportation, develop walking routes for convention attendees, especially in cities like San Francisco. Provide incentives like miles or rewards instead of gifts and “tchotchkes.” Whether it’s food choices or table settings, really discuss options with vendors so that you can make the most educated choices about how to lessen impact on the environment. As far as products, request or provide natural fabrics that have been washed in non-chemical solutions, such as bamboo goods because of the sustainability, eco flames instead of sterno for heating food, rented furnishings and linens, which are continuously reused and recycled. Swap out our individual shampoo and conditioner containers to in-room dispensers of EO Organics, reducing the number of plastic bottles going into landfill. Use tele-technology to reduce carbon footprint. Big Picture Perspective • • • • Look for and work with suppliers that have third party accreditation. Choose destinations like San Francisco that are green by nature. Hire a green consultant to help save time, money and the environment. Educate partners about how they can make adjustments that lessen their impact on the environment, such as serving water in glasses from pitchers as opposed to bottled water. • • • • • • • Julie Lindsey, director corporate events, Gap, Inc., applauds hotels and vendors that are willing to learn. “As planners, we don’t need to deny relationships with those that are not complying; instead, we need to help educate our partners and hold those we work with accountable,” she says. According to Linda Mansouria, CMP, CMM, tier one program manager, Cisco, “It’s the little things meeting planners bring to vendors’ attention that make a huge impact.” Kathy Newby, senior event consultant, Classic Party Rentals, adds, “As consumers become more informed, we all grow in this process together. Education is the key!” ● Kris Hillard is with Inn Marin and can be reached at or (415) 883-5952 x566. 447863_Absolutely.indd 1 12 | MPINCCperspective | VOL. 2 8 , NO. 3 28 28, 9/26/09 5:27:30 PM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MPI Perspective - December 2009

MPI Perspective - December 2009
President’s Message
A Brand Apart
Tradeshow Marketing: How to Reach Corporate and Association Planners
Getting to know … Sheryl Sookman Schelter, CMP
Being Green Is Not a Destination
Member Pearls
Chapter Chatter
Sponsor Spotlight
Student Affairs Committee Spreading the Good Word of MPI
Index to Advertisers

MPI Perspective - December 2009