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Rethinking The Mindset For Green Meetings

by | Sep 13, 2021 | Blog

Green Meetings, the next big Trend in the Events Industry

Corporate sustainability must be coherent if you want to achieve credibility. True sustainability entails changes in how we conduct economic affairs, social life, and even leisure, as proven by the growth of green tourism and a broader awareness of events’ negative impact on the environment.

Related: The Role of the Professional Conference Organiser (Core PCO) [2021 updated version]

But the comprehensive nature of sustainability and what it means to be environmentally responsible can make this task overwhelming. This post discusses how event organisers can embrace change and inspire stakeholders to do the same.

Barriers to creating sustainable meetings

Sustainability is a vital issue, but many event planners, organisers or agencies have not yet started transitioning to sustainable events. The so-called Beckhard-Harris Change Equation model suggests why.

Some people are okay with the current status quo and see no reason to change anything. Others don’t see the appeal of sustainable events or worry that they could be seen as a downgrade or impact the quality of the meeting experience. There are also cost considerations and a lack of know-how at a practical level.

These scenarios are common, which means sustainable event strategies get pushed aside. What needs to change? In two words, the mindset.

Change management

The path to green meetings and sustainable events is through change management. That means getting all stakeholders on board. As an event planner or organiser, you can do this by making sustainability relevant to them to see the real implications and benefits. Implementing a green mindset is not a one-size-fits-all recipe!

Change management involves having a positive vision, so paint an attractive and realistic picture of the results and the methods needed to get there. You can use eco-friendly venues, calculate your carbon emissions, use local food and beverage and many more options available. Request feedback to get started.

Co-creation

Co-creation can support effective change management. People are motivated to act when they feel their opinions are valued. This means rejecting top-down approaches where ready-made concepts are imposed, get little support, and are eventually abandoned.

Read about our internal Congrex sustainability projects:

To turn stakeholders into active co-creators, you need to understand what motivates them and how they deal with change. Some people are data-driven and very knowledgeable about sustainability. They can get on board quickly when given numbers, data and facts. This is easy, provided that demand is real and business travellers value sustainable events and are willing to pay more to attend. Always highlight the compound impact of events at international conference centres, exhibition halls, and other locations. You can use this calculator for that purpose.

Other people are emotion-driven. In that case, highlight the real-life implications of missing the green meetings boat. Don’t just talk about greenhouse gas emission volume but focus on what this means and how it connects to delegates’ well-being, now and in the future.

Lastly, some people may be reluctant to change. Here, you will need to reassure them that quality and the event’s core mission will stay the same. Also, explain how green meeting strategy changes will deliver added value. The Green Meeting Standards can be a useful starting point, as they result from 25 years’ experience assessing what sustainability means in the MICE context.

Conclusion

Events do not become sustainable overnight, but it is crucial to start today. The key is to get all stakeholders involved through strategic change management and co-creation. It is also essential to set realistic goals for green meetings and focus on the actual value of gradually reducing the environmental impact of events.

If you need guidance when rethinking green meeting standards in your organisation, the Congrex team is here to help.

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Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering customised solutions. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings, including the management of hotel rooms and strategic consultancy. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 45 events with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations and corporations.

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