Go paperless, use biodegradable materials, eliminate water bottles or involve the local community. Implement a few goals and ensure they are consistently met. Some 63 per cent of associations in the US have gone paperless or have 'paper-light' meetings, according to a recent report from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).
Start with a few pilot events. "Sustainable procedures can help to save significant amounts of money," says Guy Bigwood, sustainability director at MCI Group. "The Aids Society saved more than £480,000, for example. However, don't use sustainability as an excuse to compromise on quality; use it to improve the delegate experience."
Make sustainability part of your request for proposals and contracts to hold them accountable. Make it competitive by giving extra points for sustainability and innovation. Involve suppliers as partners in the event design and get their feedback and ideas. Some 21 per cent of associations in the US select venues with green practices, according to the ASAE study.