How Green Are You?

Happy Friday! Our very own Project Manager Dena Rose was published in the Philadelphia Area Chapter of MPI’s Summer 2013 News. We think you will find her article titled How Green Are You? very interesting. Check it out and let us know your thoughts. We would love to hear feedback on how green YOU are.

green world

Two Cents from Taiga Company: Julie Urlaub

We are thrilled about a guest post that we have to share on the blog today! Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner of Taiga Company, offered us her two cents on some of the green meeting goals that we promote here at A&M:

Greener Meetings Means Responsible Resource Management

Bringing people together for meetings, often for multiple days at a time, can create a “host” of environmental impacts—from the smog and greenhouse gas emissions associated with air and ground travel to the paper, plastic, and food waste associated with feeding attendees.  Since meeting face to face is oftentimes a requirement, today’s environmentally minded executives and staff are looking for smarter meeting options.  As such, many are discovering how environmentally responsible meetings are not only good for the earth, they’re great for business.

An aspect of business sustainability is making informed choices regarding green meeting planning.  This includes everything from site selection to meeting materials to catering.   Every mindful action can significantly reduce the environmental impact of the event and oftentimes, reduce meeting costs.

Research indicates more than two-thirds of meeting professionals take environmental considerations into account when planning their conferences.  How are they doing this? By keeping responsible resource management at the forefront of their decision making.  Areas worth considering are:

  • Waste management and recycling
  • Water conservation
  • Energy efficiency
  • Carbon Offsets and Event Calculators
  • Green Travel and Lodging
  • Sustainable Tourism Organizations and Initiatives

By including sustainability concepts in event planning, it demonstrates company values to employees and meeting guest as well as gives business a competitive edge, a great reputation, and can save time and money in the process.

carbon-footprint

A huge thank you goes out to Julie for sharing her insights!

What are your thoughts?

Julie Urlaub is the Founder and Managing Partner of Taiga Company, a social media and sustainability consulting company specializing in social media communications, strategy, training, managed services and stakeholder engagement for sustainable/ green business.

Leveraging 36,000+ twitter followers and a blog with global reach, Julie works with clients to powerfully engage in sustainability related issues and stakeholder communications in the social media space to help businesses maximize sustainability strategies and to communicate how their sustainability strategies are making a difference in their business and our world. Not only does Julie walk the talk, she rides it too as an endurance mountain bike racer.

Website: http://www.TaigaCompany.com
Twitter: @TaigaCompany
Facebook/TaigaCompany
Pinterest.com/TaigaCompany
LinkedIn/in/julieurlaub

Don’t Miss Out!

With our July Special, you can receive complimentary sourcing for TWO destinations simply by submitting an RFP to us online! You can access the form by clicking “request info” via our website.

Request Info

The end of July is quickly approaching, so don’t wait!

Innovative Iceland

Andrew Evans of National Geographic Traveler recently tweeted a very interesting fact about an Icelandic city as follows: “All houses in #Reykjavík are heated w/ geothermal energy (hot water flowing thru pipes). Means this is one of the cleanest cities on Earth.” As a sustainable travel enthusiast, it immediately caught my interest. I thought, what’s a better place to plan for a green incentive trip? Talk about off the beaten path…

A large portion of Iceland is sourced by renewable energy, making it one of the greenest locations worldwide to visit. In fact, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability notes how “Reykjavík is home to the largest geothermal heating system in the world.” Impressive, huh? On top of this accomplishment, the energy that isn’t geothermal is hydropower. This city ultimately screams sustainable living, which is why it’s the perfect destination for your next eco-minded incentive adventure.

A quiet island with a breathtaking environment that boasts an entirely efficient way of living; what are you waiting for? Iceland isn’t necessarily the first place that comes to mind, but it certainly is worth considering.

Sustainable Catering at Your Service

You’re brainstorming your next event in the Philadelphia area and find yourself stumped when trying to determine catering arrangements. How can you find the perfect venue to satisfy a variety of tastes while also maintaining a sustainable mindset? We’ve compiled a list of four unique, but simple eateries in Pennsylvania that certainly fall under these event goals.

1. The Sunflower Truck Stop: An extension of Shorty’s Sunflower Cafe, this mobile food supplier will conveniently travel to you. Not awed by their already incredibly appetizing menu? You can make your own “exotic” requests for the cooks to experiment with – they’re all for it!

2. Lucky Old Souls Burger Truck: Featuring your favorite “farm-to-truck” menu with local ingredients to concoct anything from house-made bacon and burgers to seasonal vegetables.

3. Farm Truck Philly: By simply visiting their website, you’ll immediately be sold. With a seasonal menu created with the highest quality ingredients, you can only opt for a tasty meal from this mobile catering option.

4. Cosmic Foods: With a commitment to Fair Trade, purchasing locally, and sustainability, Cosmic Catering is more than ideal for your upcoming event. If you’re looking for something more than the option on wheels, this is the perfect choice for you.

Each of these will not fail to disappoint the expectations held by you or your group. With a dedication to supplying hearty foods from the freshest farms, there’s no need to sacrifice taste for sustainability – it’s all here!

On Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): What, how, & why we love it

CSR is the talk of the town of recent, and slowly but surely businesses are jumping on board to this new trend. With that said, the term is thrown around a whole lot, and while you may contribute to it’s reach, are you entirely aware of the meaning and what it involves?

Allow us to briefly elaborate. CSR incorporates social consciousness that extends from personal aspects like corporate citizenship to environmental means such as “going green”. In an effort to achieve this recognition, businesses may encourage team volunteer projects, green meetings, and sustainable incentive trips. Now, this is where we come in, and why we love CSR so much.

Successful companies promote employee involvement. By that we mean team bonding, efficient meetings, and friendly events beyond the professional field. And, we are here for just that. The planning. The nitty-gritty details that make many cringe. We do that. And guess what. We enjoy it. But, there’s more. What’s so special about your next corporate meeting or incentive trip if it’s not eco-conscious? In this day and age, with the extent of knowledge that people have acquired over the years, we owe loads of respect to our natural environment. It sustains us, so why shouldn’t we sustain it?

Not sure where to start? Well, the first step would be to come to us. From there you can let us know what you’re looking for – the destination you’re dreaming of, the type of team engagement your seeking. Below are a few examples of what we mean here at A&M.

Remember that culinary incentive trip to Italy featured on the blog several months back? Well, that option certainly still exists. Or how about taking a volunteer trip in South America? Talk about rewarding. If you’re looking for the ultimate relaxation in the sun, head to the Virgin Islands; St. John has some serious green thinking on their minds that we are thrilled to work with.

Rooftop solar panels in St. JohnThe options are endless, and that’s what makes incorporating CSR into planning so exciting! For more information on what we mean and how we promote our own social consciousness, visit our website!

An A&M Perspective

GMIC

Our very own Sales Manager Angela Obzud attended the GMIC Conference earlier this month. Here’s what she had to say:

On April 7-9, I had the pleasure of attending the Green Meeting Industry Council Annual Meeting at the McCormick Place in Chicago. Going into this meeting I did not know what to expect since it was my first time attending this conference. My expectations were not only met but exceeded by the enthusiasm and dedication to sustainability which was felt in the room.

One of my favorite parts of the meeting was the keynote speaker Eric Ryan with Method Products. Method Products sell cleaning supplies which are good for the environment.  To hear him speak of how he started by selling to people in store parking lots to now selling 70 million a year was amazing. Ryan’s presentation showed how the events industry can apply theories used by Method Products for planning and sustainability to “get the dirt out of events and meetings.”

Whether you are a meeting planner, supplier or just a green activist you will want to attend next year’s conference or join your local GMIC Chapter and help keep the environment green.

Worth while for next year? I’d say so. For more information on this past GMIC Conference, check out their about page here.

Easter Treats: How do yours rank?

I hope that everyone had a happy Easter!

When I hear Easter, one of my first thoughts is chocolate, of course. How many of you like chocolate? Or perhaps the more appropriate question would be how many of you do not like this sweet delicacy? As Easter approaches each year, stores and markets stock their shelves with the season’s tastiest chocolate delights, and the options are limitless. Craving pastel minis? Head for the m&m’s. Maybe creme-filled eggs stimulate your tastebuds a bit more. Well, Cadbury Eggs are there for you. And, for many, Easter simply isn’t Easter without chocolate bunnies. I think we can all admit to having consumed at least one of these choco-treats at some point in our lives, yes?

Chocolate bunny

But should we be allowing ourselves to have all of these themed goodies? Setting health concerns aside, what about how it’s made? This is where we encounter the concern of Fair Trade. What is Fair Trade? According to fairtradeusa.org, “Fair Trade goods are just that. Fair. From far-away farms to your shopping cart, products that bear our logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated. We help farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities.” So, what exactly does this mean? Take a moment to consider all of the chocolate out there. Every supermarket, convenience store, rest-stop, evening clothing shops sell this classic indulgence – If you want chocolate, you can get it. Unfortunatley, not all of our favorites are just, so to speak. Only some are produced by the means of equally treated farmers that are appropritately compensated for their labor. In other words, those producing the cocoa that we seemingly couldn’t live without are frequently exploited and disregarded. Fairtradeusa.org acknowledges that, “Cocoa farmers are often forced to sell their harvest to middlemen who rig scales or misrepresent prices, and media reports of child slavery show the stark contrast between the delicious treat and the difficult conditions of the people who produce it.” Not fair.

Cocoa beans

Still a bit confused? The Guardian posted a relevant quiz regarding this issue that may help to clarify how Easter chocolates relate to Fair Trade. Check out which fall under this category, and which don’t make the cut.

Next time your scoping out Easter treats to shovel into baskets, consider the ethical position of various brands. Was it fairly produced? How about sustainably? Not only will you be helping yourself and your environment, but also the farmers that work day in and day out to fill our shelves with the world’s best, in my opinion, candy.

Tom’s of Maine Labels Sustainability [Corporate Conscious Wednesday]

Inspired by this article on GreenBiz, our Corporate Conscious Wednesday feature this week is Tom’s of Maine!

Tom's of Maine Toothpaste LabelTheir line of sustainable personal care products breaks the mold of eco-friendly marketing by conveying it’s message and purpose right on the label with 6 simple points.

  1. No Animal Testing
  2. Web address to ingredient lists
  3. Value of sustainable practices
  4. No artificial flavors, colors, etc.*
  5. Commitment to recycling, and finally,
  6. Donation of 10% to “human and environmental goodness”

*They even have a section of their website called “Not In Our Products” that makes it easier for customers to see what’s left out! (This is especially great for consumers with allergies or distaste for artificial or harmful ingredients.)

Tom's of Maine LogoTom’s of Maine exudes responsible business in their commitment to creating sustainable products and respecting their customers needs. Mark Dobrovolny, Director of Research and Product Development says, “Every well-run business needs strategic goals – we just believe that those goals need to include things like sustainability as well as profitability.” We think so too! 

Check out their “Reason for Being” for a deeper look inside Tom’s of Maine!

Do you know of any other companies who promote their eco-friendly efforts like Tom’s of Maine? Let us know!