In light of corporate responsibility, today’s meeting planners have a new challenge: they must find spaces that meet both the event requirements and their client's “green” values. As you well know, this is easier said than done. Especially when many facilities that claim to be eco-friendly just aren’t!
We’ve put together a few eco-friendly meeting-planning tips to assist you in finding a space that meets all of your clients' “green“ expectations.
The Eco-Friendly Meeting Planner Checklist: What to Ask Before Booking
1. What is the venue doing with food prep compost?
When you’re feeding large groups of people day in and day out, food waste is a natural by-product. Has your meeting venue addressed this part of their business? Corporate meeting spaces that take the environment seriously should have an answer for you on this. In our case, we formed a partnership with waste hauler Veolia to collect and compost our food scraps from the kitchen; local farmers can then fertilize their soil with the compost.
2. What is the venue’s recycling program really like?
Sure, they recycle. But what does that really mean? We had a recycling program at Q Center for years too, but we realized it wasn’t enough. We were going through entirely too many plastic water bottles and knew we wanted to eliminate the volume of this waste. As a solution we installed a water purification system and placed dispensers all around the property. The cups guests use for the water are made of plant products and are fully compostable. In other words, make sure your venue is pursuing more than the standard “have-a-recycle-bin-and-hope-it-gets-taken-care-of” approach.
3. How is the Housekeeping department addressing being eco-friendly?
There’s nothing eco-friendly about the use of chemical filled cleaning supplies and over-laundering. Make sure the meeting venue has taken this into consideration. For example, green venues like Q Center have systems that can turn plain water into an environmentally friendly cleaning product.
4. What happens to all the leftover food?
Regardless of how hard meeting planners and chefs try to coordinate, estimating the exact amount of food to prepare is almost impossible. Some people don’t show up for scheduled meals and others arrive last minute adding to the guest list. It was our chef that made us get serious about putting leftover food to good use. Other meeting venues should be thinking about this too. As of late we have been donating leftover meals to the local homeless shelter. Not only is it more responsible, it’s helping our community too.
5. How do the venue’s grounds reflect their commitment to the environment?
Perhaps the most obvious (but least questioned) part of a venue is their outdoor facilities. The devil is in the details on this one as small things reveal big things about a venue’s environmental values. For example, here at Q Center we have beehives on the property to enhance pollination and use the honey whenever possible. We also used an eco-friendly process to clean muck from the stream on our property. While the stream may have looked ok to the average passerby, we wanted to dig below the surface and make sure things checked out. Based on the picture below, we’re glad we did!
Meeting Planners: have you ever talked to an event venue that claimed to be eco-friendly only to be disappointed?
What else do you look for in a venue before booking your eco-friendly corporate events?