How To Go Green At Your Next Meeting
Business meetings and conferences have a huge economic impact. In just the U.S. alone, as many as 1.8 million meetings, conventions, and trade shows are held each year, contributing to a $770 billion industry. While it is not known exactly what the collective environmental impact is of these meetings, most conferences and seminars could benefit from going green. As green events have become a key trend this year, they will soon become standard. At a time when everyone can see the direct consequences on a global scale, every event will come under scrutiny. But thanks to virtual offices, going green doesn’t have to be complicated.
Why Green Up Your Meetings?
You may already bring your lunch to work in a reusable container, drink water from a reusable bottle, and put food scraps in the compost bin. From switching off the light when you leave the room to reduce your carbon footprint to making sure you recycle, we’ve all become familiar with making some small changes to our daily lives. Switching to greener cleaning methods that use eco-friendly ingredients and avoiding the harsh chemicals found in traditional cleaning products can help keep the air clean and help preserve our waterways. While it’s important to preserve our already limited natural resources and protect our wildlife and oceans, becoming greener also makes good business sense.
Choosing A Greener Meeting Space
Traveling to and from a meeting is the single biggest contributor to that event’s carbon footprint. While you may rely on attendees to take responsibility for offsetting this environmental cost, it becomes harder to create a truly green meeting. The majority of traditional office and meeting spaces are also not particularly efficient. The room is continuously cooled or heated despite not always being used, lights are kept on constantly and every company has to purchase its own supplies and equipment. However, with a virtual office, your carbon footprint is already greatly reduced.
When you need a physical meeting space, you can book the space as and when you need it and by reducing commute time, you and your staff or meeting attendees can cut their carbon footprint. Compared to using a traditional office to hold a meeting or conference, virtual offices use only a fraction of the resources. Since a virtual office’s physical location can be shared among other businesses, resources such as electric and water are considerably reduced. The more that companies use the virtual office for meetings, the more its impact shrinks.
Creating A Green Meeting Or Conference
America is the largest market in the world for consuming paper products, using around 100 million tons each year. When you are planning your next meeting try to make the event as paperless as possible. From check-in/out to your options for paperless signage such as using LCD screens or creating simple signage that you can reuse. Provide meeting agendas by email or send to onsite PDAs and post presentations to a website for reference after the meeting. Reducing waste is also important to provide an area for attendees to return their name badges for the next event to reduce waste and save you money on producing more name badges for your next event. Little things such as serving water in bulk during the meeting, rather than individual bottles of water and provide small, biodegradable cups can also make a huge difference in reducing plastic waste.
As you plan the event, think about ways to reduce the environmental impact, from the venue to going paperless. Even just taking small steps towards making your meetings greener can make a huge difference.