The environmental impact of the GWS Conference

The George Wright Society recognizes that holding a national face-to-face meeting brings with it many environmental impacts. The energy expended to bring 600–800 people from around the country (and beyond) to a single location is significant, and of course with that energy expenditure comes emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, as well as pollutants of other kinds. And the environmental impacts of running a conference hotel or convention center are also very significant.

What we do to try to reduce that impact

As park professionals it is incumbent on us to minimize these impacts, and the GWS is working on several fronts:

Can we do better?

We sure can. Here are some things other organizations are doing to make their meetings as green as possible, and which the GWS will be seriously considering in our planning for GWS2007 and future conferences.

All of this comes with a price, of course, and ultimately we have to make decisions about whether the (generally) higher cost of green services begins to push the cost of the conference outside of an affordable range. We can only hope that more consumer demand for green practices will make them the norm in the conventions industry.

More info

The idea of holding “green meetings” is just beginning to get off the ground within the conventions industry. According to a recent article in the trade magazine MeetingNews, 52% of the meeting planners surveyed were aware of the concept but hadn’t acted upon it, 37% had not heard of it at all, 7% had planned green meetings but it wasn’t a priority, and 4% called it a priority.

The Green Meeting Industry Council (which also runs the website BlueGreen Meetings) is a leading organization in promoting a greener conventions industry.