How to make your “Green Meeting” even more sustainable
3.5 kilograms of residual waste, 5.5 kilograms wastepaper, 151 litres water, 204 kilograms carbon dioxide. On average, this is caused by just one congress attendee per day, says the Vienna Convention Bureau. Shocking right? How can this be avoided? In this article you will learn about green meetings, how you can host a sustainable event and how you can reduce the main share of your CO2 emissions.
What are Green Meetings?
Business events like seminars, conferences or exhibitions are an important economic factor and a social communication platform for the personal development of a professional’s life. However, too many resources are often wasted and the impact on our environment is huge.
Instead of causing mountains of waste and traffic avalanches, “Green Meetings”, also called “Green Conventions” or “Green Events” are characterized by increased energy efficiency, waste avoidance and environmentally friendly arrival and departure of guests. Further, focus on regional value creation and social responsibility are very important. These measures lead to a greater acceptance among the population and gaining more and more relevance for guests and sponsors. However, the most important thing is that they reduce our impact on Mother Earth.
What do Green Meetings care about?
- Conference venues and accommodation with environmental awareness
- Resources conservation in planning and process
- Waste prevention and separation instead of mountains of waste
- Regional food and drinks of high quality or organic quality
- Social responsibility for employees and participants
- Strengthening the regional economy and culture
- Reduction of CO2 emissions
That is, how the Austrian Ecolabel describes it. These measures play an important role to reach the sustainable development goals (SDG) and should be taken serious by organizers.
Travelling has the biggest potential for improvement
The above-mentioned measures are a very good start to reduce the impact on our environment. However, the non-profit organisation atmosfair calculated the main share of emitted CO2 is due to travelling to and from an event.
Green meetings need to show opportunities for environmentally friendly travelling and offer green on-site mobility options. Some organizers are trying to work with incentives such as special rates for train rides or discounts on the entrance fee when showing the public transport ticket.
Nevertheless, there is little transparency on how attendees really travel. It is possible to gain trends with surveys, but it is very hard to receive detailed statistics on the impact of your attendees travelling behaviour. Frankly speaking, event organizers have very limited control over how their attendees travel. But how can you have a bigger influence on your attendees travelling behaviour?
How does CO2 transparent travel planning work?
Most available travel planning tools your attendees might use to visit your event are not capable of comparing the amount of CO2 caused by different travel modes. Hence, many of your attendees lack awareness and do not think about environmentally friendly travelling. Furthermore, organizing public transport on the last mile is more complex so that many travellers get on a taxi instead.
Travel search engines like EnterAnGo, which show travel options and CO2 emissions from door to door, motivate your customers to use greener modes of transport and substantially decrease the CO2 emissions caused by your event. Such a search engine can be easily integrated into your event website and will be a great support for your attendees. As an organizer you get anonymized statistics, that help you to understand their travel behaviour. On this basis, you can set actions to motivate your attendees travelling greener in future.
What are Hybrid Events?
A hybrid event is a combination of an onsite and virtual event. Presentations and discussion panels are streamed live, and remote attendees can join the conference without the need of any travel. Further, remote speakers can give their speech online as well, which is projected on a large screen for onsite attendees.
This is a great way to reach out to a broader audience and reduce the environmental footprint caused by travelling drastically. Imagine you are hosting an event in Europe and all overseas speakers and attendees just join online. Hybrid events are a great chance to reduce the need for long haul flights.
Promote CO2 offsetting possibilities
However, not every event can be done as a hybrid event and some sort of travelling will be required. As seen in the figure above, the least impact on the environment would be to travel by bicycle or trains that use renewable electricity only. Since that is not always possible, more and more event attendees try to offset their CO2 emissions. This can be done by financial compensation to a non-profit organization, that support climate protection projects.
Currently, not all attendees are fully aware of this possibility. One thing you can easily do is to promote CO2 offsetting on the event website. Further, you can provide a technology service, that allows your attendees to directly offset their emissions when they plan their journey anyway. The latter will be more effective, as attendees normally have little time for event preparation and it is easier for them to make compensation payment straight away when buying their travel tickets. This helps to make your green meeting even more sustainable.
What else can you do for more eco-friendly events?
Besides travelling, there is further potential to save plenty of resources. Think about the venue you choose and the food & gadgets that you want to offer. Are there possibilities to use less plastic, more regional food and is it possible to consume less energy? There are plenty of examples for professional event planners that show how you can substantially reduce the amount of waste and consumed energy at your next event.
The popularity and awareness of “Green Meetings” are increasing and gain ecologic and economic importance. The underlying rules to host a green meeting can reduce the environmental impact substantially.
However, when it comes to event travelling with its main share of all event CO2 emissions, organizers have currently limited impact on the attendees travelling behaviour. In this article, you learned how to help your attendees travelling more environmentally friendly to your event.
One possibility is integrating a travel search engine, directly into your event website, that compares CO2 emissions from door-to-door and raise the customers awareness considering greener travel options.
Further, it is very important to get fundamental insights into your attendee’s travel behaviour. This helps you to set the best measures to motivating attendees to travel greener. Therefore, it is crucial to rely on real statistics.
Finally, you support sustainable development by offering a possibility to directly offset CO2 emissions while attendees do their travel planning. This is the most effective way that attendees are willed to support green projects.
Do you want to make your event even more sustainable? Learn how you could offer a door-to-door travel solution that automatically lets your guests offset CO2 emissions and provides you with important insights on your attendee’s travel behaviour. Just get in touch.