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Published on Sunday, September 1, 2013

Green Globe Certification and Green Meetings & Events

Staging Green Meetings & Events is a huge worldwide movement these days, but what exactly is a Green Meeting or a Green Event?

A green meeting or event incorporates environmental considerations to minimize its negative impact.Green or environmental considerations are one aspect of sustainability, and green meetings are based on a sustainability framework, which balances environmental, economic, and social impacts in context of an organization's business needs.
Planning and executing environmentally sustainable events isn't just about being environmentally responsible, it also has economic benefits for the event organizer. In fact, integrating environmental practices can actually save money.
There is a multi-phase approach to planning, managing, and evaluating sustainable events: First step is to create a plan for identifying your event's sustainability objectives. Specific targets such as percentage of waste generated, as well as purchasing decisions such as inclusion of organic meals, have to be identified. A sustainable meeting policy will have to be established, and ideally this policy should reflect the company values and vendors also need to be engaged in support. Event budgets, performance, and sustainability action plans need to be monitored and tracked, to build on the results for future years. Continuous success should always be the goal, and the success of the action plan should be communicated and shared with attendees, vendors, media, and the industry. One of the key elements in creating a rewarding experience for attendees is to be innovative with your efforts. Meeting planners can include events that have a purpose in the local community, allow for non-scheduled activity time, or organize something simple like a yoga break.
Today, a guest staying one night at a Scandic hotel
generates 1.5 kilos of CO2 less, uses 35 liters of water
less, and leaves one kilo of waste less than 10 years ago. 
As a case in point, sustainability is deeply rooted in the corporate philosophy at the Nordic hotel chain Scandic. Since 1996 the hotel chain has worked hard to make its resource usage more efficient. Today, a guest staying one night at a Scandic hotel generates 1.5 kilos of CO2 less, uses 35 liters of water less, and leaves one kilo of waste less than 10 years ago. Green Globe member and Scandic sustainable flagship property, the Scandic Hamburg Emporio in Germany provides the ultimate experience for eco-friendly meetings and events.
In collaboration with Naked Chef Jamie Oliver, the Scandic Hamburg Emporio has developed a meeting concept called 'Green Creative Energy'. The key energy boost comes from the exciting flavor combinations which are part of morning, lunch, and afternoon buffets at all events. Other energy boosts come from flexible breaks, and effective use of technology such as birdsongs piped as background sounds in the Feng Shui inspired think tank meeting rooms. 
A five-day event serving 2,200 people can save
almost a metric tonne in plastic going to landfill
A green meeting is largely about the respectful use of resources, and all conference equipment supplied by Scandic is eco-certified, such as pens and pads. Modern technology is employed to save resources and electricity. This includes efficient LDC projectors and coated walls which allow guests to write on them instead of paper-based flipcharts.  Wide corridors and doorways as well as lifts ensure accessibility for people with special needs. Hearing loops are supplied for hearing impaired guests. 

No plastic, Scandic water is bottled in glass on site
with ten cents per bottle going to the Scandic Sustainability Fund
And finally the bottom line is using recycled materials, recycling materials used, reusing items and reducing materials used, which all minimizes the environmental impact significantly. If a five-day event serves 2,200 people with breaks, breakfasts, lunches and receptions using china instead of disposables, it prevents 1,890 pounds of plastics going into landfill.
Having a comprehensive Green Meeting program in place can make a big difference. Delivering sustainable events provides the convention and events sector with a competitive edge, and helps to create a better world for our children. 

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