Business meetings can vary greatly in size, setting and tone, but the purpose of any successful meeting is to improve the company in some way. A meeting can be arranged to achieve objectives such as increasing sales, optimizing productivity, awarding top achievers, inspiring new ideas or producing a safer work environment.
A green meeting in particular is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “one that is organized and implemented in such a way as to minimize negative impacts on the environment and promote a positive social legacy for the host community.” The EPA recently deemed the meetings and events industry as the second most-wasteful sector in the U.S. due to the far-reaching environmental footprint left behind by air travel, audiovisual equipment, food waste and other elements.
As a result of this alarming news, many key players in the industry have addressed the problem directly and joined the movement to promote environmental sustainability. Some venues have received LEED and other green-building certifications while recycling, composting, green roofs and other eco-measures are becoming much more common. Several organizations including the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC) released the ASTM/APEX standards for sustainable meetings further raising the bar on preserving environmental integrity.
At JNR Incorporated we have joined the movement to be socially responsible in our meetings in an effort to protect our planet for future generations. Ways in which we are achieving this include: utilizing local suppliers for gifts, hosting meetings at green-building certified locations, prioritizing email communication over paper collateral and using mobile ticketing, among other things. On-site, we are known to hire local services to repackage left-over food for donation, provide logo’d water bottles with fill stations to participants instead of wasteful plastic disposable water bottles and other sustainable approaches to our meeting coordination efforts. Our home building, Newport Gateway, is even LEED certified and boasts energy efficient HVAC and lighting along with practicing green cleaning and indoor air quality management. Efforts to continuously decrease our environmental footprint are ongoing.
One rather fascinating piece by GreenBiz Group editor Nikki Gloudeman listed the “Top 10 U.S. Cities for Green Meetings in 2014” and the results included a few surprises.
10. Cleveland – Two new neighboring meetings venues, The Cleveland Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovation, were built around the principle of sustainability.
9. Washington D.C. – The Washington Marriott Marquis will open next month as the largest hotel in the city and is expected to be one of the largest properties in the nation with LEED Silver Certification.
8. Philadelphia – The Pennsylvania Convention Center earned a LEED Gold certification for its 2011 expansion and uses a host of products made from 100 percent decompostable [sic] and biodegradable products.
7. New York City – The Javits Center which is Manhattan’s main convention complex has added a seven-acre green roof to change the heat-island effect, reduce ambient temperature of the air and improve insulation while controlling storm water runoff.
6. Nashville – The brand new Music City Center convention center has 845 solar panels, four-acre green roof with a waterproofing membrane and 14 types of vegetation and roughly half of the material used in the building was sourced within 500 miles of the site.
5. Portland – The Oregon Convention Center was the first to earn LEED certification way back in 2004 and will be renovating in an attempt to upgrade its LEED status from Silver to Gold.
4. Orlando- The Orange County Convention Center is the second-largest venue with ASTM/APEX certification thanks to LED lighting and HVAC systems, Green Seal-certified cleaning products, irrigation systems that use reclaimed water and a solar PV system.
3. Chicago – McCormick Place is the largest convention center to earn ASTM certification and has reduced energy consumption by 1.6 million kWh and increased annual waste diversion rate by 10 percent recently to maintain this status.
2. Las Vegas – A city mainly known for excess has changed as far as meetings are concerned by becoming the first and only city in the world to garner next-tier Level Two ASTM/APEX certification for the LEED Gold Sands and Venetian and LEED Silver Palazzo.
1. Denver – Probably the least surprising city on the list due to its status as a pioneer in this area, Denver became the first city to earn APEX/ASTM certification in four separate sectors: destination, meeting venue, audiovisual and food and beverage (F&B).
For more information on how to hold sustainable events, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here for ten easy tips from the GMIC. You can also read our blog from November of 2013 pinpointing sustainability as one of the five biggest megatrends in meetings and events.
Written by Kristopher Hewkin
JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.