Conferences and corporate events are game changers; thought-leaders from all over the world meet to discuss important ideas. There’s no better opportunity to promote sustainability and going green. While hosting a sustainable event may sound demanding, it’s actually a lot simpler than one might think. Meeting planners can make small changes to their events that will have a huge impact on the environment and might actually save them money. If you happen to be planning your next corporate event in Boise, you’ll have access to tons of resources to make meeting green a breeze.
1. Go Paperless
Did you know, according to Meet Green, the average conference produces over 4 pounds of paper weight per attendee per day? On the bright side, almost all paper materials utilized at events can be made digital. Rather than having attendees print a ticket or fill out physical paperwork at arrival, execute a paperless check-in. It will be much faster to determine attendance when you have this data available digitally. Plus, having contact information readily available on a digital device will make after-event marketing to attendees seamless.
Instead of printing hundreds of event maps, meeting agendas and speaker bios, invest in an event app. A well-designed app will have all relevant documents in one place from itineraries to maps, contacts, local activities, and of course, the post-event survey. Meeting planners can also easily push notifications to attendees whenever they have an announcement.
Make sure to lean on your event destination’s convention and visitors bureau (CVB) for assistance. Boise’s CVB can provide a host of digital materials to help promote your event, as well as virtual guides on everything from restaurants, things-to-do and transportation.
2. Prioritize Eco-Friendly Transportation
Travel can account for over 80% of an event’s carbon footprint. The best way to encourage eco-friendly transportation is to host your event in a walkable city. Favor venues and hotels that are close to local restaurants, bars, and attractions, so attendees can walk everywhere. Downtown Boise is known for just that – with everything from craft breweries to award-winning restaurants, grocery stories, beautiful parks, and the historic Basque Block all within walking distance.
For events that require greater travel between locations, find out if your destination offers a shuttle bus service, public transportation or a bike-sharing system. Boise has bike rentals available throughout the city, where attendees can explore the 25-mile Greenbelt path to parks, beaches, business districts and historical sites.
It’s also important to choose a venue that is nearby the airport, since many attendees will be traveling from out of state. The Boise Airport is only ten minutes from downtown and offers nonstop service to and from 26 destinations. From the airport, most Boise hotels offer a free shuttle service and there is also a public bus service to downtown for under $5.
3. Choose a Green Venue
While any event space can be made more eco-friendly, it’s easier to host at a location that’s already making efforts to go green. Seek out venues that care about recycling, energy efficiency and waste reduction. Large conferences and corporate events use a lot of resources. Choosing to host at a green venue can substantially reduce an event’s impact on the environment.
Meetings Today recently named Boise Centre among the top 3 sustainable venues in the Northwest. As Idaho’s largest convention center, Boise Centre accommodates groups of up to 2,000 people and has gone to great lengths to become an environmentally friendly convention center.
Boise Centre utilizes a geothermal heating system that requires minimal electricity and no fossil fuels. Boise’s geothermal system involves naturally heated water flowing under the city’s foothills to heat many of the local buildings and is the largest of its kind in the United States.
Boise Centre takes extensive measures to preserve Idaho’s resources. The convention center recycles all forms of paper, cardboard and metal materials. In addition, to reduce food waste, Boise Centre donates food left over from events to the Boise Rescue Mission, where it is distributed to one of three local shelters.
During events, Boise Centre uses china dinnerware versus paper whenever possible. There are also filtered water stations in all public areas to reduce plastic waste. Not to mention, Boise Centre is equipped with advanced technology to be able to replace traditional guest signage with digital signage throughout the space.
4. Educate your Attendees
Last, but possibly the most essential step to hosting a green meeting or event, is to get your attendees on board. Individuals value sustainability and will seek out conferences that share their belief systems. Make sure to advertise your event’s efforts to help the environment. You’ll not only attract more attendees, but also garner support for the cause.
Sometimes, individuals don’t know how to make a difference. They will appreciate meeting planners educating them on how to reduce their environmental impact. In fact, according to Forbes, 88% of consumers want businesses to help them make a difference. Meeting planners can do this by encouraging attendees to bring their own water bottles to use at the water stations and reduce plastic waste. Organizers can also offer information about ride shares and public transportation to minimize the event’s carbon footprint.
Another idea is to create an event hashtag around sustainability. Ask attendees to post on social media whenever they take a positive environmental action, such as riding a bike in Downtown Boise. These kinds of campaigns get everyone involved in the mission and create a “we’re in this together” mindset.
As consumers begin to demand more sustainability, it’s important for meeting planners to prioritize meeting green. The world’s greatest minds will be attracted to events where improving the quality of all our lives is a focal point. Organizers who educate themselves now and start to incorporate environmental initiatives into their events will be ahead of the curve.
If you’re looking for a place to host your next green meeting, look no further than Boise – Idaho’s capital city! You can also read more about ways Boise is making sustainability a top priority, such as through the use of geothermal heating and the city’s compost programs, here.