Meetings Don't Have To Produce A Ton Of Carbon

I'm a big believer and advocate of green meetings, so when I came across this figure, it startled me and motivated me to share some thoughts. Seems that very large events held in a central location can produce over a ton of carbon per attendee, according to a whitepaper from ClimatePath, an organization that provides industry solutions to help event planners, consumer brands, travel providers, and other businesses measure and reduce the climate impact of their business activities. As you can guess, the major carbon produced from an in-person meeting, such as a conference or convention, comes from airline miles. But ClimatePath also figures in emissions from airport transfers, driving and hotel stays.

Now the good news. ClimatePath says that more regional events can produce up to 70% less emissions. And by going virtual, for example, via technologies such as TelePresence or Webex, an event can reduce its carbon footprint by 90%.

The point is here that meeting organizers and planners have options. Meeting managers and planners hold the key to creating earth-friendly events. For example, you can use e-sourcing to research and RFP green hotels. And you can create policies that mandate or encourage analysis of when virtual or face-to-face events would be suitable over a large, central event. Heck, even if your company must go with a large event, you can pick a central location with good public transportation to cut down on your carbon footprint.     

Bottom line: just because your organization needs to hold meetings, it doesn't mean that carbon emission contribution is inevitable. We still have choices in making events as green  as possible.

Check out this free webinar for more information on creating green meetings while achieving your cost-control goals.

Kevin Iwamoto is vice president of enterprise strategy at StarCite. This post is syndicated from his blog, Strategic Meetings Management