I think we all agree that the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) sector has a bigger role to play in measuring and promoting sustainable travel. If all event organizers commit to collecting sufficient data to understand their operational and ecological footprint, we can work on it and achieve great things. Our “ecological footprint” is our personal impact on the planet. This is the first step: To be aware, to be conscious and to make decisions upon real facts.
The second step is to find out how to build a sustainable MICE environment. For many meeting planners sustainability issues are now top-of-mind. But, many of them ask themselves: where do I start? Here are some quick wins I would like to share that we are using at MediMICE, which might help to convert us in sustainable event planners:
Reduce, reuse and recycle. We try to reduce the use of plastic (sometimes it is not easy to put into practice) and to use other materials that allow reworking instead of a single use. Try to do it, with your next event. You don’t need to put your event upside down for it. Some changes are easy and quick to do, such as using water fountains or water bottles made of cartoon instead of individual plastic water bottles so common in Spain. What do you think?
Going from A to B with sustainable mobility. Of course that requires a good, creative talk with your current transport partners. Some of them are already changing to hybrid and if we go for those, others will follow. We use shared transfers instead of individual pick-ups and if it has to be individual, we use electric cars. We did part of the last site visit with e-bikes and apart from a sustainable note, we had fun and achieved great feed-back.
Use environmentally conscious products. Do your part for the environment and replace your standard event lanyard with eco friendly ones from bamboo or recycled material which can be customised as well. What kind of signs do you use? For our signage we use wood or cartoon, for instance. At the office: Is it necessary to buy a new shelf or can it be a second hand one? All these small things can have a big effect when we apply them the whole year round.
Use local food with local providers. Stimulating the work with fresh products from the local markets or shops, you are helping the local food chain and achieve healthy results. This is the better option over processed products. In our case, MediMICE is hosting events in the Mediterranean. I think you agree that we have a healthy cuisine and you would not expect anything less than to eat good food when it comes to an event. Wouldn’t you?
When choosing a venue, think about the location, the respect for natural spaces and how to reach a low environmental impact. I know we all want to be in the most beautiful places. Ok, understandable. But, when choosing a venue it is important to respect nature and to leave a light ecological footprint. In the Mediterranean we have great places, with great venues and we need to take care of them so they will still be beautiful in the future.
I think that if we use these 5 tips for our next events, our footprint will already be much more sustainable. This is what we do at MediMICE to continue delivering clean, safe, prosperous and healthy destinations in the Mediterranean area for you to enjoy. The MICE industry is recognized for its enormous contribution to the development of a destination. We like to think that we are doing our best to contribute to this, but always with a positive impact.
And you? Is sustainability on top of your mind when planning an event?