The first player from the Green Squad is the gate-keeper, the heart of the defense, and the easiest player to focus on in your team: Just Ask!
Most planners have some key components in every RFP: available rooms, available meeting space, F&B requirements, A/V and technology needs, and more. Why not ask about a venue's or hotel's sustainability performance? Even from the first conversations during the sales process, make it a habit to ask what measures they have in place. Consider the following five questions as a standard paragraph in your RFP:
- Do they have a sustainability policy? (If so, ask for it!)
- Are they in possession of a Green Key, Green Globe, APEX/ASTM, or ISO certification?
- Do they source their food locally?
- What measures are in place to conserve water and energy?
- What measures are in place to reduce waste and encourage recycling?
By asking these basic questions, you'll have information about their sustainability activities and can consider these initiatives as you decide your location. In addition, you might just inspire properties who haven’t investigated the value of sustainability (both to the planet and their business) to get creative and help you achieve your green event vision.
Don't be afraid to ask. Many venues and properties have worked hard in recent years to improve their facilities and make environmental sustainability and giving back to their local communities a priority. In the Netherlands, almost all hotels have a Green Key or Green Globe certificate and continue to come up with measures to become even more sustainable. By choosing a certified location, you show support with your business dollars.
Even if you do choose a hotel or venue that's not yet engaged in more sustainable ways of doing business, you at least show the important role it plays for meeting planners. Continue the conversation.