I have just returned from participating in the 2013 Green Meetings Industry Council Sustainable Meetings Conference in Chicago; a meeting of like-minded cross-sector industry partners who all believe that we can do meetings in a more sustainable fashion. Following this, the inimitable Paul Salinger wrote this blog post on his perspective and how Oracle approaches sustainable responsibility. Shared on PYM - Plan Your Meetings, linked here.
I agree with Paul that it is possible to save money and make choices that positively impact the bottom line and the guest experience. For many of the clients - both agency and end client - there are published sustainability practices and philosophies on their websites and I have always believed that when planning meetings, special events and incentive programs it is incumbent upon us to be responsible and respectful of these when planning. When we are able to share gorgeous natural spaces with guests in unique destinations, it is always special. If these spaces become full of litter, inaccessible due to natural disaster or man-made issues due to lack of care for the land and water, and can no longer be enjoyed that would be (and in some cases is) a shame.
When we strategically plan for our organizations we are always looking for KPI - Key Performance Indicators and evaluating against these for success. When it comes to sustainable meetings, what if our KPI was our Karma Protection / Karma Performance Indicator? This would mean building in enough "good" - through choosing destinations that can support and benefit from us meeting there, responsible (fresh, local, delicious, seasonal) food and beverage choices, using and not abusing water including no bottled water, selecting gifts that support local artisans and manufacturing, in venues that are managing their waste streams and including a CSR or give-back activity that supports those in need wherever we are, we can definitely increase the karma factor, the leave-behind that keeps on giving and is returned to us later.
I believe that one meeting at a time we can change the world - do you agree?