Archive for the ‘Green Events’ Category

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SUSTAINABILITY:governments pass;businesses lead

January 17, 2011

Yesterday I read in the Strib that Sustainability was finally now emerging as a megatrend. The confirmation of this was not necessarily news, as client after client I interact with focuses on sustainability or at least “green” as part of their stated Corporate Social Responsibility program.

What I had given no thought to was WHY this was happening.  I had missed the connection that it has become a rich strategy in a global economy.  It lowers costs and boosts efficiency.  But what caught my eye was that it acts as a driver of innovation; creates new markets; and leads to new profit despite the recent downturn in economy.  In short, it increases corporate competitiveness. The article suggested businesses adapt and innovate or be swept aside, and ended with an interesting thought:  As scientists continue to make progress, companies and citizens are filling the void until government wakes up and catches up.

As I pondered that, it occurred to me that there is a message here for all of us in the events industry-not just for our corporate clients.  Oh yes, we recycle an event’s trash, we are big on bamboo serving utensils, we attempt to go “paperless” and occasionally, we give some effort to developing menus that include local, fresh grown products, or incorporate LED lighting to save energy.

But is it time to move the conversation up a step from a one day seminar we attend once in a while as a “refresher” to those we participated in a few years ago, and really spend some time thinking about how we can be thought-leaders in this arena?  The argument that it is often more costly may be short-sighted if in the long-term we become more competitive, grow our client base, and find new ways in which to stimulate our profitability and grow our businesses.   What do you think?

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Green Meetings and A VERY AMBITIOUS GREEN EVENT

July 10, 2009

As Minnesotans, we are all aware of our state’s leadership in environmental concerns. 

In the 1970s when “green” was only a color, Control Data was anticipating today’s focus on alternative energy sources.  Its world distribution center in St. Paul used solar power, while a CDC subsidiary was creating wind farms from Hawaii to the Caribbean-including some of the earliest in California.  Control Data itself partnered with its major electric utility company to find innovative ways to cut power consumption, especially during peak periods.  And, at the University of Minnesota, work in photosynthesis and the “Green Revolution” earned Norman Borlaug a Nobel Prize in 1972.

From there to the passing of the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act  in 1975, to White Bear Lake becoming the first city in the country to ban cigarettes being  sold in vending machines, to the 1990 regulations that dictated packaging of products sold in Minnesota must be returnable, recyclable or degradable, to the ECO experience at the Minnesota State Fair – as Minnesotans, we continue to focus on how we might become part of the solution for a cleaner, healthier tomorrow.

As meeting and event planners, we lead a similar charge, working hard to limit our impact on the planet.  We utilize Green Meetings Best Practices.  We promote sustainable agriculture and healthier eating and support local sustainable businesses.  We take steps to lower carbon emissions, and focus on creating less waste and consuming less fuel.  We embrace eco-friendly practices and processes in the design and production of our events, our communication pieces and even our bio-degradable trash bags.  We question vendors and try hard to avoid any “greenwashing ” claims.

And this week, I have been privileged to assist a local company, STOCK ROOFING, tell their own very special green story.  Together we produced a simple experiential green customer event that went viral.

Hired by the City of Minneapolis, Stock Roofing, a Tecta America company, is replacing all of the roofs on the Target Center and installing an almost 3 acre green roof and 29 additional smaller roofs on the facility.  The installation is the largest green roof in Minnesota, and at the time of design, the fifth largest green roof in the US.

Tecta America and Stock Roofing delivered seminars on solar roofing, daylighting, cool roofing and recycling, and of course, the green roof – complete with 3-D models and samples of the Minnesota succulents to touch and feel.  Guests were then invited to the hotel penthouse for a firsthand and safe view of the work being done atop Target Center.  DVDs running on monitors in the room documented the six-step installation process with time-lapse photos.  Complete with a Stock Roofing hardhat, guests’ images were superimposed unto the replicated green image of the roof to produce a personal photo and momento of their visit and of the partnership between the City of Minneapolis, valued suppliers and the employees of Stock Roofing Company.

For more than six hours, the penthouse was filled with interested guests as the experience spread by word of mouth and attendance grew to almost four times that of the original plan.  For me, this is what it means when an event goes Viral!

Green roofs yield not only energy savings, but ecological benefits as well.  For those of you that know me well, and know of my passion for the Mississippi Riverfront, you’ll understand that reducing the negative effects of traditional roofs on stormwater quality, volume, rate and temperature on the receiving waterbody – in this case, the Mississippi River – made this event personal.  What surprised me was how it engaged not only our audience, but many hotel employees as well.  Several stopped me during the day to comment on the project and how important it was to the Minneapolis community and to the environment.

Within the MSP event community, this was a small event, definitely delivered under the radar.  But in the environmental world, this was huge.  Thank you, Stock Roofing, for allowing me to be a part of this, and thanks to BeEvents, John Markovich Photography, Graves 601 Hotel and MSP Resources for your contributions to the success of the event.