Produce meetings that preserve the planet

How to overcome the challenges of cost, availability and feasibility in greening your meeting? World PCO Alliance offers three simple but effective suggestions

Green conferences are a hot topic. Everyone in our industry is now eager to plan and operate conferences that contribute to environmental preservation.
How can organisers achieve the aspiration of ‘greening’ their meetings against the challenges of cost, availability and feasibility?
Here are some suggestions:

Abide by local recycling initiatives
Holding conferences around the world brings organisers and delegates into contact with environmental measures that differ by country and at times even within a country.
A certain city in Japan, for example has 12 different trash categories. Citizens are required to dispose their garbage according to the city’s pick-up schedules. Convention facilities are required –and should – follow suit.

Decide on the most suitable approach
As PCO, we work closely with organisers on the approach to adopt for environmental issues. For example, of course we can engage suppliers to do the recycling for us, which will lessen the green burden on delegates and the tight turnaround schedules in venues, but it can be more cost-efficient and meaningful to conduct a separation of the trash on-site.

Teach on-site
On-site education can be one of the keys to overcoming delegates’ hesitation and involving them in your meeting’s recycling efforts. For instance, at the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development held in Nagoya, Aichi last November, the conference host, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, called out to volunteers – comprising university student volunteers and other local volunteers from all walks of life – to experience the conference theme, Education for Sustainable Development, firsthand. One of the tasks of the volunteers was to explain and promote on-site recycling to delegates.

It turned out that many volunteers enjoyed the task, as it gave them
the precious opportunity to apply

their language skills and engage with delegates from abroad. In turn, delegates had the chance to interact directly with the students and citizens, thereby feeling a sense of contributing to local initiatives. International goodwill and understanding can be enhanced simply through this kind of interaction, which adds value to any conference.

The World PCO Alliance helps associations organise effective meetings worldwide. Representing 21 front-runner PCOs in six continents, this group aims to capitalise on the efficiency of consolidating conference and event services within one network. By sharing resources, knowledge, technology, training and best practices, the alliance is associations’ one-stop solution for international meetings and conferences. The alliance is led by president Per Ankaer of ICS International Conference Services, Denmark and vice president Kitty Wong of K&A International, Taiwan.