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GMIC: Myths and reality about green meetings

Despite the proven business benefits, there remain a number of common myths regarding green meetings. Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) dismiss those myths and demonstrate the real potential of green meetings.
Friday, January 16, 2015

Myth: Green meetings are a hassle
Reality: For planners, green meetings involve looking at the decisions you already make in a green light. When inquiring about catering ask for local, organic and vegetarian options.

When arranging for printing of collateral materials ask printers to use post-consumer recycled content paper, print on both sides and use vegetable-based inks.

Suppliers may need to initially invest some time to set up recycling, energy efficiency or other environmental programs, however, the return on investment in these initiatives ultimately outweighs the initial equipment and human resource cost.

Myth: Green meetings are expensive
Reality: Green meetings are about increasing economic and environmental efficiency by minimizing the use of resources and reducing the amount of waste produced from meeting activities.

Trimming waste curbs costs, whether it be through the introduction of energy efficiency programs in hotels and convention centers, by reducing the volume of printed conference materials, providing locally grown food, or designing re-usable signage.
By providing water in pitchers Meeting Strategies Worldwide avoided an estimated $12,187 to furnish bottled water to attendees (2002).

Serving condiments in bulk is less expensive than individual serving packages - bulk cream is 62% cheaper and bulk sugar 50% cheaper than single serving sachets (Meeting Strategies Worldwide, 2002).

Eliminating shuttle bus transportation and selecting hotels and meeting facilities within walking distance eliminated $30,000 - $40,000 for one three-day meeting (Meeting Strategies Worldwide, 2002).

Day-lighting merchandise on the trade show floor increases sales by about 40% (Meetings South, 2004).

Myth: Green meetings reduce the quality of the meeting experience
Reality: Most green meeting activities go completely unnoticed by delegates. Attendees are not likely to notice your reuse of signage or preference for recycled paper. Many already sort their household waste for curbside pickup and are likely to make use of onsite recycling without a second thought.

Furthermore, delegates who are becoming increasingly conscious of their diet respond positively to more healthy, organic food options that are authentic to the meeting destination.

If traveling, attendees also might appreciate efforts to economize on handouts and provide resources in digital formats. Where they are informed of the outcomes of green meeting activities, many delegates respond very positively to the contribution their efforts are making to the environment and host communities.

A 2003 survey by the Travel Industry Association of America indicated 83% of US business and leisure travelers are willing to spend 6.5% more for services and products that are provided by environmentally responsible companies.

About GMIC
The GMIC is a non profit membership based organization with a mission of "transforming the global meetings industry through sustainability".

GMIC leads the meeting industry in improving meeting management by supporting collaboration and the development and dissemination of resources and opportunities that improve the environmental performance of meetings and events.

This article is published by GMIC.

 

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