Going Green on Events

The current “green” fad is such a great cause that I can hide my cringing on how it is being beat to death by marketers (Discovery’s new Planet Green channel? Come’on.) I mean, whatever it takes to save the planet, right? So how about doing something creative with your next marketing event to show your love for Mother Earth?

Recently, I read that the Democratic Convention organizers have been challenged with creating one of the most sustainable events on the planet as well as sourcing things made in the USA, which has proved difficult. The organizers are finding that they can find eco-friendly items and they can find items produced in the U.S., but finding both of those things rolled up into one is a challenge. Business opportunity anyone?

I also have read that a California state senator is trying to ban helium-filled foil balloons, since they float into eletrical lines, sink into the ocean to be swallowed by marine life, and even obstruct vision on small aircraft in flight (yes, this happened to a fellow California state senator). While I readily admit we have bigger fish to fry as a nation, might be a useful nugget when planning your next marketing event.

If your event allows, here are some easy ideas on how to green up your next marketing soiree. Would love for you to chime in with other ideas as well:

  • Email handouts and brochures in PDF to participants before or after the event; or put them all on small Flash drives
  • Ensure the venue has recycling receptacles in all breakout and luncheon rooms
  • Encourage participants to share taxis or carpool from the airport – or provide them bus shuttles if budget allows
  • Ban PowerPoint presentations and save on the electricity (I think more than one participant might applaud you for this)
  • Instead of printing individual menus for each place setting (admittedly, a nice touch), post one lovely large placard or fun bistro chalkboard with the menu options. Reuse the chalkboard for all the meals to go further.
  • Hold a webcast or virtual conference instead of a live event if you are able
  • Find out if the catering sources food grown locally. If not, think about hiring a catering company in town who does.
  • Invest in carbon offsets from a company like carbonfund.org

Other tips can be found on Ideal Bite or EcoSpeakers, or just Google “green events” and you will find a host of resources.

Whatever small way you can help the planet is not only good for the Earth, but can also be an effective marketing tool in promoting your event. But beware: make sure this is coming from the heart; folks can tell a phony from a mile away. Jump on this important bandwagon, by all means, but please do it sincerely or you risk damaging your brand in the long run.

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