5 New Ways to Green Your Event
Event Solutions | Apr. 02, 2009 | FROM THE WEB
Spring â€™09â€™s hottest color? You guessed it: Green. Directives to incorporate corporate social responsibility (CSR) into meeting and event programs are at an all-time high, making green initiatives increasingly important. And in this economy, conserving resources is more hip than ever. Thatâ€™s why Event Solutions is sponsoring the California Green Special Events & Meetings Resource Directoryâ€™s Conference & Trade Show on April 22. And to find out how you can be greener, we asked the eventâ€™s speakers to give us their best actionable and innovative tips. Here are their top five green event ideas.
1. Avoid buying or building new things for events. There are some great resources for discovering pre-existing items to be used for décor, infrastructure and to help create the event of your dreams. Also, given the state of the economy, smart reuse of existing resources will inevitably replace opulence in the events world for a while to come. And remember, rentals are inherently green, whether they are lighting, furniture or another event element!
â€” Clayton Frech, General Manager of Santa Barbara and Vice President of Sustainability/Operations, Classic Party Rentals | Session: Green Logistics â€” The Nuts & Bolts
2. Determine what shade of green youâ€™re striving for. What type of messaging are you trying to send? Is it green-powered, green-catered, zero waste, produced with only green businessesâ€¦? The message will determine where you focus your greening efforts. Itâ€™s great to be able to tout that your special event or meeting was produced solely on green power, for example â€” and once you get one focus, challenge yourself and strive for more!
â€” Joella Hopkins, CSEP, CMP, Founder, California Green Special Events & Meetings Resource Directory
3. Educate staff, vendors and guests about what youâ€™re doing and why. Events involve a big group of people â€” staff, vendors and guests â€” and the key to greening them successfully is education.
The staff need to know what changes are being made on the event to make it green and why each choice was made. If they donâ€™t know why, then they canâ€™t educate others, especially the vendors who will be executing the plans. For example, if you are composting food scraps, everyone should know what goes in the compost bin and why the choice to compost was made.
Vendors need to know both how and why changes are being made to the event. Most vendors have standard practices, and deviating from normal operations can be confusing. But, by understanding the consequences of their operations and product choices, they will learn how and why to make changes to a more sustainable operation. For example, if you establish a no idling policy for load-in, when the trucks arrive, explain how the policy saves gas and cuts down carbon dioxide emissions.
Guests need to be educated as well â€” they should know what you are doing to green your event and why. For example, if youâ€™re using LED lighting, they should know you made that choice to save energy. There are many ways to communicate with guests without taking away from the event: Add a sustainability page to the event website, have signs at the event, or find fun ways to educate. People want to know that they are making smart choices when they attend a green event â€” it makes them feel good.
The more people are educated, the more they will expect green best practices to be the industry standard. Staff, vendors and guests will speak out and reject an event when it is not green.
â€” Joshua Mark, Executive Director of Special Event Production, Creative Services, and Director of Sustainability, FOX Broadcasting Company | Session: Baby Foot Steps to the Green Giant â€” Becoming the Green Expert
4. Make sure your green venue is truly green. A green event should ideally start with a green venue. In addition to the buildingâ€™s eco-friendly components, a green venue like the California Science Center, for example, will provide composting bins for catering scraps, recycling containers and equipment made from recycled materials. The venue should also have its own ecosystem similar to our 18,000-square-foot bamboo garden, which thrives on the composted catering materials. Also look for electric vehicle charging stations, reduced HVAC and vegetative roofing systems.
â€” Lori Matsunaga, Event Services Department, California Science Center | Session: Green Venues: Getting there, Promoting Green and Getting Green Business
Made only of fallen leaves, steam, heat and pressure, VerTerraâ€™s single-use dinnerware contains no chemicals, dyes or toxins.
5. If you go with disposables for an event, make sure they are compostable, not just biodegradable. Compostable is a stricter term and is a much more environmentally friendly way to go. For example, try VerTerraâ€™s plates, which are made without toxic glues, sealants or varnishes. They offer a beautiful look and are made from fallen leaves, with local disadvantaged employees.- Clayton Frech, General Manager of Santa Barbara and Vice President of Sustainability/Operations, Classic Party Rentals | Session: Green Logistics â€” The Nuts & Bolts
Frech, Mark, Hopkins and Matsunaga are speaking at the California Green Special Events & Meetings Resource Directoryâ€™s Inaugural Education Conference & Trade Show on Earth Day, April 22, at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.