United States
 Environmental Protection
                                                       Pollution Prevention
                                                       and Toxics
                                                  December 2001
 Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Guide
 Greening  Your

 Meetings  and  Conferences
      The "Green Meetings" train is quickly gaining speed and picking up passengers, so
      climb aboard! EPA has recently updated its Green Meetings Web site to accommo-
      date this momentum, so check it out at: .
I  What's Inside:
J  —What Are Green
ft   Meetings?   ;
1  —EPA's Purchasing
p   Tool Suite   !;'
J   —Contacts & Resources
|   —EPA's Green
1   Conference Initiative
 Why Green  Your  Meetings?
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.
• " Did you know that in Fiscal Year 2000,
   the federal government spent more
   than $9 billion, on travel for mission-
   related business around the world?
                                                                  Did you know that 93,000 federal
                                                                  employees are traveling on any given-
                                                                  business day to 8,000 locations across
                                                                  the country?
                                                                  Did you know that federal travelers use
                                                                  24 million room nights of hotel space
                                                                  in the United States annually? .
                                                                  Did you know that an" average hotel
                                                                  purchases more products in a week,
                                                                  than 100 families purchase in an entire
 Key  Sources of Waste  and  Pollution
 The following activities associated with meetings and conferences are major sources of
 waste and pollution.
 Marketing of Event and Registration
 — Paper waste associated with direct
 mailings among organizers, speakers,
 attendees, and venues.
 Travel to the Event — Greenhouse
 gases and other pollutants released via
 planes, trains, buses, and automobiles.
 Hotel Stays — Water usage associated
 with laundering; indoor air quality
 issues associated, with toxic building
 materials and cleaning products; paper,
- plastic, and material waste associated
_ with single-use toiletries.
                                      Food Services — Waste from dispos-
                                      able coffee cups, plates, napkins, and
                                      plastic-ware; disposal of extra food;
                                      non-sustainable farming practices.
                                     ' Exhibition Halls — Landfill disposal
                                      of carpet; greenhouse gas emissions
                                      from shipping; waste from excess infor-
                                      mation materials and gimmicky give-
                                      Local Transportation — Greenhouse
                                      gas emissions and other pollutants
                                      released from taxis or rental cars.
   ) Printed on paper that contains at least 50 percent postconsumer fiber.

What  Are  Green  Meetings?
The Oceans Blue Foundation defines green meetings as "an assembly or gathering of people, for the purpose of the
exchange of information, where, through careful planning, negative impact on the environment is minimized." In the
early 1990s, a green meeting may have meant brochures were printed on recycled-content paper or that soda cans
were collected for recycling. The costs associated with even these simple:steps were often prohibitive for most meeting
planners and meeting service suppliers. Today, however, the opportunities to green meetings and events are almost
limitless—often offering ways to save money and increase efficiency in the process.
What  Can You  Do?

While there is an ever-increasing number of green meeting
"pioneers" in the United States, many meeting planners are
still having difficulty finding green services for their events.
This is why it is important to remember that asking for
green is key! Asking is the first step in showing there is a
demand for reduced environmental impacts associated with
a meeting. When enough meeting planners ask for reusable
mugs, non-toxic cleaning services,  or energy-efficient light-
ing, for example, then hotels, conventions centers,  and
other meeting service providers will begin to respond. If
you are not a meeting planner, but coordinate with or
direct a contractor to plan meetings for you, EPA's  Office of
Pollution Prevention and Toxics has created green meeting
contract language you can use when buying meeting plan-
ning support services. It is available from the Database of
Environmental Information on the EPP Program's Web site
at:  (search under
the keyword "Conference").
  The following lists of green opportunities can assist you
in reducing meeting-related environmental impacts. The
first list condenses the array of green opportunities into a
handful of thought-provoking questions a meeting planner
may consider. The second list lays  out specific steps that
have proven to prevent pollution and waste associated with
meetings and conferences. Since a  meeting planner may be
restricted by time, money, and/or level of support for green-
ing, choose the strategy that works best for your situation.
Abbreviated List

Have you sought a location...
   ...that, on average, minimizes the distance the attendees
     have to travel?
   „.where the facilities needed for your meeting are all
     accessible to each other, the airport, and local attrac-
     tions by mass transportation options?
Accommodations and/or Meeting Facilities
Does the hotel and/or meeting facility you are considering...
   ...have a formal environmental policy and action plan
     that they will share with you?;
   . ...have an assigned person, group, or committee directly
     responsible for environmental initiatives?

Does the transportation service provider you are
   ...offer a carbon emission offsetting program (known as
     carbon-neutral travel)?
                                 tjighly efficient
                      *"—••. - j
    ..offer hybrid/altmiadv^
     vehicles?     -  "     *

 Does the food and beverage service provider you are
    ...maximize the use of reusable, rather than disposable,
      linens, flatware, glassware, etc.?
    ...donate surplus food to local shelters, soup kitchens,
      food banks, etc.?

 Promotion/Marketing/Registration and
- Have you maximized opportunities to...
    ...use electronic communication over paper as often as
    ...reduce, reuse, recycle, and purchase recycled-
      content/energy-emtient/environmentally preferable
    •: products?

#7 General Office Practices and
•  Reduce paper by allowing attendees to register
   online. Confirm registration by e-mail when possible.
•  Recycle paper inserts and plastic badges,
•  Use double-sided copies.
-*,  Print marketing and registration materials (whenever
   possible) on recycled paper using soy-based ink.
•  Promote electronic distribution instead of printed
   handouts to reduce paper usage.
•  Encourage use of electronic presentations and dis-
   tributing disk handouts to eliminate paper waste.
    Do not use mailing lists that have not been main-
    tained. A mailing list more than 2 years old is usually
    Provide information about the meeting and destina-
    tion to potential attendees and allow them to register
    via e-mail.
    Set up a system for making photocopies on demand
    instead of over-printing materials.
    Post minutes or other handouts on the Internet, or
    circulate them electronically after the meeting.
 EPA's  Purchasing  Tool  Suite
 EPA's EPP Program has developed the following Web-
 based tools to help purchasers consider the environ-
 ment, along with price and performance, when buying
 a product or service.

 EPP Database of Environmental
 Information on Products and. Services
      _ ^ ^^ ^ -
 A searchable dataSase of product-specific information
 (e.g., environmental standards and guidelines or contract
 language) developed by government programs, both
 domestic and international, as well as third parties.
EPP General Training Tool

Covers basic EPP principles and mandates, along with
some more in-depth applications of EPP, in an enter-
taining and multimedia format.

Promising Practices Guide for Greener

A series of short case studies highlighting successful
strategies for incorporating environmental factors into a
variety of product and service contracts.
  It's  Policy
 The federal government has undertaken various initiatives to mandate the consideration of the environment in
 purchasing decisions. A growing number of'state and local governments also have implemented green purchasing
 policies or programs. In 1995, EPA established the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP), Program to,
 encourage federal employees to consider a broad range of environmental factors, such as reduced toxicity and
 lower volatile organic compound (VOC) content, in their purchasing decisions. In 1997, the Federal Acquisition
 Regulation (FAR), which provides broad purchasing guidance to federal employees, was amended to support fed-
 eral procurement of green products and services. In addition, executive agencies, under ^Executive Order 13101,
 have been directed to identify and give preference to the purchase of products and services that pose fewer envi-
 ronmental burdens.

Contacts  and  Resources
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts EcoMeet Program

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is the largest luxury hotel
company in North America, with a distinctive collection
of properties and a worldwide reputation for excellence
and environmental responsibility. It has developed an
environmental program recognized as the most compre-
hensive in the North American hotel industry. The
EcoMeet Program is a product option designed specifical-
ly for meeting planners—it allows them to order a ready-
made green meeting when organizing through  the
Fairmont Hotel chain. All of the greening initiatives avail-
able at the Fairmont Hotels are automatically incorporat-
ed into the meeting events when this "EcoMeet Program"
is chosen. Greening initiatives include, but are not limit-
ed to, transportation alternatives, environmentally friend-
ly meals and meeting facilities, and incorporating
environmental educational opportunities for meeting

Oceans Blue  Foundation

Oceans Blue Foundation (OBF) was the first to develop
guidelines for green meetings and has since developed a
primer to provide guidance on applying environmentally
sustainable principles in the meetings and conventions
industry. These tools are designed for use by planners,
suppliers, and delegates of meetings, conventions, confer-
ences, and trade shows, as well as by the operators of the
facilities that hold such events. OBF now will work with
EPA and other international stakeholders to develop a
Web-based tool to help meeting planners plan green

Green  Seal — Environmental Standard for
Lodging Properties, GS-33

Green Seal is an independent, nonprofit organization
dedicated to protecting the environment by promoting
the manufacture and sale of environmentally responsible
consumer products. Green Seal sets environmental stan-
dards and awards a Green Seal of Approval to products
that cause less harm to the environment than other  simi-
lar products. Green Seal has partnered with the lodging
industry, the nation's second-largest employer, to support
ecotourism. Its campaign to educate hotels and motels
focuses on how environmental efforts improve the bot-
tom line and benefit the environment.  Green Seal
received wide input from the lodging industry on its
Environmental Standard for Lodging Properties. Green
Seal also has certified lodging properties in Pennsylvania
and Washington, D.C. Government employees are
encouraged to stay in certified properties when they trav-
el on official business, and government meetings are
encouraged to use these facilities.
 The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible
 Economies (CERES) Green Hotel Initiative
      ,  ,
; The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible
 Economies (CERES) is a nonprofit coalition of investors,
 public pension funds, foundations, religious and public
.interest groups, and labor unions working in partnership
 with companies toward the common goal of corporate
 environmental responsibility worldwide. CERES con-
 vened  a network of environmental organizations, govern-
 mental entities, and businesses that advocate corporate
 responsibility to initiate a collaborative project to pro-
 mote environmentally friendly hotels. The initiative'will '
 encourage,corporate and government .purchasers, to. ask.
 for greener hotels as part of their business travel, creating
 an incentive for more hotels to "go green."

 Hotel Association of Canada  — Green Leaf
 Eco-Rating Program
 Founded in 1913, the Hotel Association of Canada
 (HAC) is the national organization representing the
 accommodation industry in Canada.  Its membership
 encompasses the provincial and territorial hotel associa-
 tions, the corporate hotel chains, independent hotels,
 motels and resorts, and the many suppliers to the hotel
 industry. Their objective is to assist both our national and
 international members as they enhance their competitive-
 ness and improve their bottom line. HAC has developed
 and maintained the Green Leaf Eco-Rating Program for
 the Canadian hotel industry. The program involves a
 graduated rating system designed" to recognize hotels,
 motels, and resorts committed to improving their envi-
 ronmental performance. The program recognizes a hotel's
 achievements through the award 'of one to five Green
 Leafs;  one leaf is given for a basic commitment to envi-
 ronmental principles, and two through five leaves are   ,
 awarded for specific results achieved.

 NW Pollution Prevention Resource Center-
 Hospitality Sector

 Meeting Professionals International—Green
 Meeting Task Force

 The Green Hotel in the Green Mountain
 State Program

Expanded List

#1 Location
•  Select locations that, on average, minimize the distance
   the attendees have to travel.
•  Select locations where the facilities needed for your
   meeting are all accessible to each other, the airport, and
   local attractions by mass transportation options.
•  Get a sense of the availability of green services in cities
   under consideration. Some cities or regions of the coun-
   try are further along in their awareness and protection
   of the environment and will make it easier for you to
   green your meeting.

#2 Accommodations
•  Select accommodations that allow for efficient trans- ,
   portation routes (walking paths, bicycle paths, public
•  Choose a hotel that has energy and water conservation
   programs, including: automatic controls for the HVAC
   system; fluorescent lighting and automatic lighting con-
   trols; and low-flow taps, showerheads, and toilets.
•  Make certain that there are recycling and waste mini-
   mization programs in place. Specifically, find out what
   items are recycled. Are recycling bins placed in all
•  Donate used amenities (soap, bottles, etc.) to charitable
   organizations or recycle-them.
•  Give hotel guests  the option to reuse towels and sheets.
•  Utilize paperless check-in, checkout, and billing
   procedures to minimize use of paper.

#3 Transportation
•  Locate meetings and accommodations within walking
   distance of each other and area restaurants and  attrac-
   tions, so excessive car travel is minimized.
•  Provide shuttle services between meetings, accommoda-
   tions, and restaurants to minimize car and taxi trips if
   walking isn't feasible.

#4 Food  & Beverage
•  Use cloth instead  of paper
   napkins, and reusable
   plates, cups, and silverware
   instead of disposables.
•  Serve sugar, creamers, and
   condiments in reusable dishes
   rather than packets.                 ",  '
•  Consider providing drinking water in
   pitchers or large reusable containers instead
   of small plastic bottles.
•  Donate surplus food when possible to local shelters and
   food banks..
•  Plan menus around abundant, locally produced

#5 Meeting Facilities.
•  Look for facilities that invite meeting attendees to share
   in energy conservation and waste reduction efforts—for
   example, by reducing paper towels, supporting use of
   soap dispensers versus individual soaps, avoiding waste,
   and participating in recycling programs. •
•  Look for meeting rooms with recycling bins, posted
   with a list of all items that can be recycled.
•  Put recycling containers in visible locations at entrances
   to halls and in the pre-function area. Let attendees
   know that recycling containers will be available.
   Place visible signage instructing     . ;
   delegates as to what is and is
   not recyclable. Put additional
   containers in hotel lobbies
   near checkout areas.
#6 Exhibitions
•  Use signage that is reusable whenever possible.
•  Reduce paper use by putting floor plans and exhibitor
   service kit items on,your Web site when practical
   (and/or the decorator's Web site).
• - Work with the shipping firm and decorator to minimize
   packing materials and to use recyclable, biodegradable
   shipping and packing materials, such as paper and corru-
   gated boxes instead of polystyrene and plastic wrap.
•  Incorporate community service into the exhibition. Ask
   exhibitors to  donate leftover flowers, giveaways such as
   trinkets, pencils, or T-shirts, or other booth decorations
   or items that would normally be thrown away to local
   shelters, hospitals, or schools. Set up areas for
   exhibitors to  drop off reusable items at the end of the
•  Discourage exhibitors from bringing large quantities of
   material to the show, which often end up in the trash
 ' 'because exhibitors don't .want to ship unused confer-
 " ence materials back at the end of the show. Encourage
   exhibitors to bring small quantities and then mail mate-
   rials to clients from their offices after the show or refer
   clients to their Web site. Also, useful environmentally
      responsible gifts are preferable to items that will be
"''           discarded at the end of the show.

 EPA's  Green  Conference  Initiative

EPA's Green Conference Initiative was developed to provide meeting planners and suppliers of meeting services
with easy access to green options and opportunities for meeting planning. The goal of this initiative is to develop a
"one-stop shop" at which meeting planning and service providers can gather information on the topic of green
meetings. The information is meant to help planners request—and suppliers provide—green options for meeting
planning. The Web site includes a checklist of opportunities that, when applied, minimize the environmental
impacts of holding meetings; contract language for obtaining greener meeting planning/support services; and links
to information on other related initiatives.
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