Green Meetings: 50 tips for more sustainable events

Published on 1/10/2017 by Christoph Spangenberg

Congress and event organisers have a wide range of options at their disposal for making their events more climate-friendly. Simone Rem from the Green Team at the Congress Center Basel sets out tips for sustainable events.

Tips for more sustainable events (MCH Group)

Transportation

1. Encourage delegates to travel by train.

2. Promote active and public transport. The city and its attractions can often be reached by foot or by public transport.

3. Try to achieve a CO2 neutral conference.

4. Team up with a local offset company, and promote them at your event.

5. Offer teasers for attendees purchasing emission offsets (reduced participant fees, free lunch etc.)

6. Promote special offers like the Mobility Ticket in Basel among participants. The mobility ticket enables all guests staying in a hotel in Basel to use public transport for free during their stay.


Accommodation

7. Encourage your participants to choose either a hotel within walking distance of the conference venue or accommodation within the city's public transport network.

8. Recommend hotels committed to sustainability or with sustainability labels.

9. Encourage participants to use special tickets like the Basel Mobility Ticket for free public transport during their stay.


Food & Beverages

10. Local and seasonal products, organic products, fair trade products.

11. Avoid packaging.

12. Appropriate amount of food.

13. Offer tap drinking water only.

14. Offer vegetarian food only (as vegetables require less energy in production than meat).

15. No disposable glassware or dishware.

16. No disposable napkins, or if necessary compostable napkins.

17. Use biodegradable disposables if not avoidable.

18. Provide drinking bottles for your delegates to drink out of the bottle and refill them.

19. Ensure that glass and other disposable products are properly recycled.

20. Communicate the sustainable outline of your catering and menu to your delegates.


Simone Rem, Congress Center Basel (MCH Group)

Exhibition & Exhibitors

21. Use recycled and recyclable material.

22. Re-use the exhibition booth.

23. Encourage exhibitors to select reusable give-aways or give-aways in recycled material.

24. Encourage exhibitors not to use packaged give-aways.

25. Establish a zero-waste policy for promotional material for your exhibitors; only bring as much printed matter as needed.

26. Encourage exhibitors to reuse their packaging material.

27. Encourage your exhibitors to sort their waste.

28. Reward exhibitors with a "green exhibitor award" for their green efforts.


Event Materials

29. Use fair-trade organic cotton conference bags.

30. Avoid printed materials.

31. Avoid a printed programme book, or reduce the size of the conference programme to a minimum (exclude abstracts).

32. Print the conference book on recycled paper.

33. Offer a searchable PDF or an interactive conference application for smartphones and tablets with all the information on participants, sessions, and posters.

34. Ask participants whether they are willing to use just the electronic version.

35. Nametags: use recycled paper and material. Request participants to return the holder and provide a bin at the exit for this purpose.


Event Production Guidelines

36. Use electronic signage rather than printed signage.

37. Work with organic and local decorations, such as flowers, or use reusable decorations.

38. Request that the rooms be cleaned with non-toxic cleaning solutions.

39. Avoid paper towels in the toilets.

40. Purchase green power (or offset power consumption).

41. Do not air-condition the rooms when not in use.


Communication of sustainability initiatives

42. Establish a green team for the event.

43. Use fair-trade organic cotton T-shirts for event staff.

44. Inform staff and delegates about the sustainability guidelines of the event.

45. Establish a reward/award programme for delegates, exhibitors and staff.

46. Implement the green guidelines of the event in all communication materials.


Social activities

47. Organize social activities within walking distance of the conference venue or choose a venue within the city's public transport network.

48. Recommend venues committed to sustainability or with sustainability labels.

49. Encourage participants to use the Basel Mobility Ticket for free public transport during their stay.

50. Select social activities that help promote environmental protection.


You will find the Green Meeting Checklist to download and more information on this subject here: Sustainability in the Congress Center Basel

Christoph Spangenberg

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