The change in momentum and attitudes about greening up meetings and growing sustainability practices in the hospitality industry makes a strong case for a free market economy. While slow to start, the conservation movement in our industry is spreading, thanks in large part to meeting planners.
With the economic power of events behind them, meeting planners exert a powerful influence over companies, local governments, convention centers, meeting venues and hotels. In recent years, they have made up the force that has driven the hospitality industry to respond to their demands for destinations that meet their organizations’ policies for energy savings, waste management, recycling and community service programs held in conjunction with their meetings.
At The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta groups can take behind-the-scenes tours to learn about hotel sustainability. In its April 28 story, “Hotels Embrace Sustainability to Lure Guests and Cut Costs,” The New York Times reported that Kristin Clarke, director of social responsibility for the American Society of Association Executives, led a tour that left a striking impression on her attendees. “When they see 150,000 pounds of laundry, they understand the impact of linen reuse programs,” she said, referring to an average load.
Sustainability, once viewed as a negative and costly concept, now encompasses much more than reusing towels and sheets. Our webinar “Sustainability in the Digital Meeting Landscape” explores the relationship between typical green meeting programs and other major issues planners are influencing, like fair trade policies and the trafficking crisis at events. Meeting professionals are flexing their muscles and contributing to the planet, the economy and people, giving a broader meaning to Earth Day and setting an example for policymakers mired down by their own political or personal agendas.
Read more about sustainability efforts in our industry.
Get involved. GMIC’s Sustainable Meetings Conference is June 17-19, 2015, at The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta.