Government Connections - Fall 2010 - (Page 21)
Carbon Footprints and Face-to-Face Meetings
By Nick Stanley, CGMP
DO YOU GOOGLE? If you have not googled today, there are well over 100 million other people who did. If you have a moment,
google ‘Meetings’ and ‘Carbon footprint’; the information available is a slap to our industry’s face. The entire industry has worked diligently to demonstrate the importance of face-to-face meetings; however, a quick search for ways to reduce your meeting’s carbon footprint provides a surprising tip: don’t meet. The meetings industry continually evolves and faces economic pressures in many areas, and now increased pressure from the green movement. A carbon footprint is essentially the total set of Green House Gases (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event or product. The quick answer to reducing the carbon footprint of your event is to cancel it and organize a conference call. But leaders in the meeting industry continually innovate to find new ways to solve challenges. In order to plan we must do our research and measure our carbon footprint. To begin to find your event’s total carbon footprint, it is important to survey your attendees. Your event begins not when the keynote speaker takes the stage, but when the attendees pack their bags, when they double check their front door to make sure it is locked. SGMP is making available a general attendee survey template on our website. Please customize this form to your event’s needs. Just finding out your attendees’ travel patterns only gives you part of the picture. You must measure your ‘Food Print,’ or the carbon emissions from the food and beverages served at your event. How can a cookie have a carbon footprint, you ask? Every ingredient in that cookie traveled to make it to the kitchen. The flour began life likely as wheat and was harvested before it was milled into flour. All of that adds up! A quick search online will find several reputable Food Print calculators. Now you have a clearer picture of the total C0 emissions for your event – air, car and food emissions. Don’t forget your exhibits and the C0 emissions related to your show. Here are some quick and easy tips to minimize your carbon footprint: Ensure that all conference materials are recyclable, reusable and/or renewable, like: • 100% recycled paper • Soy based inks • Reusable stages and podiums • Serving a box lunch, without the box • Serving condiments, beverages and other food in bulk instead of individually packaged units.
• Have a paper-free conference – all handouts, speaker presentations, etc. posted online following the meeting. • Make recycling easy for your attendees by providing recycling bins in convenient high traffic areas. Partner with SGMP supplier members that are committed to responsible environmental practices and demonstrate their commitment by: • Using efficient light bulbs throughout their properties • Using sensory lights • Having a recycling program in place for leftover event materials • On-site catering that avoids energy-consuming, pre-processed, heavily packaged food products • On-site catering that chooses local sustainable food products whenever possible Working together, planners and suppliers can continue to demonstrate the face-to-face meeting’s real value. By thinking outside the box we can find solutions together that encourage our agencies to continue to find the value in meeting face to face while minimizing our impact on the environment. Sounds easy to me. If you have any tips or suggestions for other SGMP members coast to coast, find us on facebook and share them with your fellow members. (www.facebook.com/ SGMPNation/). G
Nick Stanley, CGMP, is executive assistant for SGMP. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Government Connections - Fall 2010
Government Connections - Fall 2010
Travel Tips and Trends
Good to Know
Dieting on a Per Diem
The Lean Approach to E-mail Management
Connecting to the Next Generation
Cows, People and Flying
Get to Know Your Future Colleagues
FACE TIME – It Matters
VIPs! Where Do I Seat Them at My Meeting?
The Meeting Minute
Government Connections - Fall 2010