Not only are meetings an investment of your time, they also have remarkable environmental impacts. People meeting up always means energy and natural resources being used in transportation, food, beverages, and paper.
Meeting participants have their own choices, but organizers are the ones that can make the meetings greener. Here are just a few tips, how.
Reuse, recycle, reduce
When choosing a venue for the meeting, prefer central locations that are easy to reach by public transport. You can also check some details of the venue: how is the power produced for the place, is there a chance to recycle waste and is reusable dishware available. If possible, do not use bottled water, buy food near and figure out in advance what participants favor eating.
To save paper, share all the materials in electronic format before the meeting instead of printing them out. During the meeting they can be displayed from laptops or on the screen. According to Reduce.org, an average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year, and sadly a major part of the handouts end up in mixed waste after meetings.
Virtual meetings as an alternative
Eventhough there are benefits in face-to-face meetings that online meetings don’t beat yet, not every meeting needs physical attendance. Virtual conferences save traveling time, money and energy, and with today’s tools enable almost real-like interaction. Using electronic devices naturally requires power, but they would probably have been running anyway – and powering computers is nothing compared to using car or plane for traveling long distances.
Even holding a part of the meetings online can help to reduce carbon emissions and waste. Some busy professionals attend 60 meetings in a month, whereas big conferences have thousands of participants. This ends up in big numbers in the meeting industry.
Try holding your meetings partially or entirely online with the help of Meetin.gs‘ video conferencing and material sharing. We are currently also researching a way to calculate the carbon footprint of your meetings. Here is a screenshot from our Meeting Analytics:
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Or, share your own tips and hints with us!
Photo: D. Sharon Pruitt