This question gets raised frequently in the sustainability world in 2013. We’ve been at this a while, shouldn’t we move on to the hard stuff? Green meetings are no different and has it’s own list of the “low hanging fruit:”
- Recycling during the event
- Eliminating individual water bottles
- Reducing or eliminating handouts
- Donating leftover conference bags
- Eliminating polystyrene cups
Many organizations have instituted these initiatives for a meeting and then promptly checked off the box marked, “Sustainable Meeting.” Done. If only it were just that easy. Even these seemingly simple items, the first step in holding a sustainable meeting, take considerable consistency to accomplish each and every time.
For instance, a conference may return to a venue which had an incredible recycling system one year ago, yet thanks to a variety of circumstances, can only recycle paper the day of your event–no bottles or cans. Or the conference that travels throughout North America eliminating polystyrene cups in most locations, but is unsuccessful in a southern city. Or the individual water bottles that crept into 500 box lunches when no one was looking.
While green meeting practices continue to be implemented, venues are being certified, standards are being addressed, the everyday low hanging fruit still demands our time and attention.
If you are like us, you just keep picking away, one event at a time, because the low hanging fruit comes back every year.