A Green Leaf For 2009

In most cities in Asia, green meetings are difficult to find. Many attendees don’t care, most suppliers are simply not prepared. No one seems to bother.

We have two options. Either we wait until environmental responsibility is fully embraced and then take action, or we act now and be catalysts for change.

Asia has large cities and resort destinations that require huge resources to keep them up and running. There are thousands of events held in the region every year that produce all kinds of waste. Can Asia ever claim to be a green destination?

The clock is ticking and the hour of reckoning will eventually arrive. Event organisers in Europe, North America and Australia are adopting environmentally friendly behaviour. Many Asian destinations are no longer attractive for an increasing number of business events and incentive groups from these regions. Having done their part to promote environmental protection, these clients balk at picking destinations that do not adhere to sustainable development.

Can we afford to spend money and time on environmental concerns in what could be a very difficult year? Yes, we can. And there are ways for Asian destinations to take baby steps towards holding green and sustainable events.

And these steps are not new or unheard of:

• Go paperless. Put event details on a website that also enables  electronic registration. Send invitations by email. Advertise on the web. And put conference handouts and catalogues on CD-ROMs.

• Meet closer. Flying attendees on short distances not only makes meetings cheaper, but also has smaller impact on the environment. Consider not only the meeting destination but also the distances between venues, hotels and airports.

• Greener food. Choose local produce for meals. Negotiate a lower price with the supplier.

• Save energy. Arrange to keep room temperature at 25°C and to switch off the lights at lunch time or immediately after the last meeting.

• Get buy-in from stakeholders. Let people know of your initiatives for green and sustainable meetings. Make this a standard practice.

Finally, write an environmental statement or policy for your company. This the right moment to start being more environmentally responsible!


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