Responsible meetings and events involve extra consideration of both the negative and positive impacts they can produce. Now, more than ever, it's imperative for planners to go that extra mile as our industry strives for a sustainable future.
Be Responsible: Consider Sustainability at
Meetings and events are not inherently sustainable. For example, gathering together groups of people from various locations uses resources for travel and transportation. Not to mention, events can generate significant waste through packaging, food and beverage and more.
The good news is that sustainability is now top of mind and becoming increasingly important in the events industry. No longer just a “nice to have,” responsible meetings take the local community, environment and global impact into consideration from start to finish. With planners showing growing interest in having responsible and sustainable meetings, venues and destinations are taking steps to make it easier for groups to reduce their impact.
The Good Hotel London floats on the River Thames and has invested in a Seabin; a device that floats just below the surface of the water filtering and collecting rubbish which is then harvested and responsibly recycled.
How meetings and events can be more responsible:
- Sourcing local products and suppliers for the event to support the community
- Focusing on zero waste throughout the event (i.e., gifting attendees a non-plastic drinking bottle and having water stations to refill them)
- Minimizing food waste by having attendees pre-select meals, or partnering with local charities to donate excess food to those in need
- Considering alternative modes of transportation, such as battery-powered vehicles, arranging group transfers instead of individual vehicles, or planning smaller regional events with less travel required
- Incorporating teambuilding experiences that engage attendees to give back to a cause
In addition to being better for the planet, one major benefit of responsible meetings is that they can motivate attendees to practice the same responsible habits in their daily professional and personal lives. In addition, responsible meetings empower others to get involved in giving back and can foster connection among delegates and within the community in which they serve.
The application of responsible meetings comes down to creating positive outcomes in the local communities in which you are meeting. Take the recent fires in Australia, where severe bushfires ravished parts of the country. Not only did the fires cause horrific environmental damage and tragic losses of wildlife, they also placed severe economic pressure on local communities during its busiest tourist season.
So, how can meetings make a positive impact? By consciously opting to hold future meetings in Australia’s affected communities (as opposed to the traditional locations of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane), you can help drive economic contribution where it is greatly needed (and get some good deals, too), as well as provide a positive responsible meeting outcome. There are many opportunities to incorporate experiences with a specific focus, such as wildlife conservation, that will support and help repair the damage.
Do you need help determining ways to make your meetings and events more sustainable? Contact BCD Meetings & Events for more information.