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Earth Day 2019: The Meetings Industry Leads the Way

From banning straws to fighting food waste, the meetings and events industry continues to create and adopt best practices to save the planet.

This Earth Day, take a moment to reflect on how much the meetings and events industry has embraced sustainability. The Events Industry Council has released sustainability guidelines for planners, there are educational sessions on the best practices for green events at many conferences, and hotels and meeting venues offer suggestions specifically for meeting planners, such as MGM’s pack of cards.

The hospitality industry has been particularly motivated to make a difference. In 2018 Hilton pledged to halve its carbon footprint by 2030, Marriott’s Serve360 program supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, and Langham Hotels & Resorts have a sustainable meeting program, CONNECT Conferences, that even offers Laurent Perrier, a sustainably produced Champagne.

While industry vendors have only recently understood the importance of banning plastic straws, many hospitality companies have been implementing their own environmental standards for more than a decade.  Harrah’s Resort Southern California has been following CodeGreen since 2003, saving the carbon dioxide from burning thousands of tons of coal by using solar energy; diverting more than a million tons of recycling from landfills; and switching 95 percent of its lighting to energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. Teambuilding company Impact4Good has been offering environmental awareness programs and activities since at least 2007, and almost all new hotels and meeting venues are now designed to LEED Gold certification standards, such as Conrad Washington D.C. Others are recognized for implementing sustainable programs, like the award-winning Salt Palace Convention Center. And one of the main areas where meeting planners are able to cut costs, benefit the local community, and help save the planet is in reducing food waste.

Whatever ideas and inspiration you find to improve your own sustainability efforts, we know you will find support for them across the meetings industry.

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