We wanted to take the time to clarify some of the myths or misinformation about planning a green event. Here we discuss green event facts and provide evidence and resources for clarifying the impacts of sustainable event planning.

Going green is much more expensive than conventional meeting practices.

False: While a few products and services can be more expensive, the vast majority are actually cost-saving or cost-neutral to implement. For example, just by serving water in pitchers instead of individual plastic water bottles, one conference saved $25,000. That cost savings can help purchase organic lettuce for a meal and still stay under budget.

Just one sustainable meeting makes a big difference.

True: It may only be one conference, but the rates of consumption can be staggering. For instance, during a typical five-day conference, 2,500 attendees will use 62,500 plates, 87,500 napkins, 75,000 cups or glasses, and 90,000 cans or bottles. By making wise decision starting with rethinking whether or not we even need a certain item or requesting reusable service ware, it is easy to make a difference. Our My Event Footprint will help envisioning the impact.

It is hard to get started greening the event

False: Start right where you are today and implement just one sustainable practice. Select something important to your organization like donating food to help stop hunger or selecting a venue powered by renewable energy. Then build on your success by adding another practice for the next event. Our Green Event Checklist will help.

Vendors and the supply chain are crucial to success

True: A recent study determined that the success of any sustainability initiative is 80% dependent on your supply chain. Enroll your vendors and suppliers early in the planning process, let them know the organization’s focus and ask them for creative ideas, industry solutions and support. In this industry, long-term supplier relationships are vital to the success of an event, sustainable meetings are no different.

You can’t donate leftover food

False: Yes, in fact you can. The Bill Emerson Act is in place to hold hosting organizations harmless. If your caterer is not already donating food, you can connect them with a local food bank to start the process. Second Harvest has an easy-to-use tool for finding local options.

Conference attendees won’t care if the meeting or event is environmentally responsible.

False: By educating your attendees about what is being done on their behalf, they will feel the organizers care about more than just making money. Many attendees actively participate in environmentally responsible practices in their private and professional lives. They appreciate being able to make a difference at the events they go to and in the communities they visit. Increasingly, people are making buying decisions based upon the company being a good corporate citizen.