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Planning a 'green' conference

Tips for conference organisers

Are you planning a conference in NewcastleGateshead? We want you to enjoy your conference and make the most of everything our exciting city has to offer but we also want to help you and your delegates do it in an environmentally responsible way.

We have put together some simple tips to help you make your NewcastleGateshead conference as environmentally friendly as possible. There are lots of simple things that you can do that could really make a difference to your conference's ‘carbon footprint'. You might even save some money too!

Planning your event:

  • Do your research - there are lots of websites with tips and advice to help you make your meeting ‘green', help you calculate your conference's potential carbon footprint and suggest ways of lessening or offsetting it.
  • Do not use mailing lists for your invites that are more than two years out of date as these are likely to be unreliable and result in wasted invitations and subsequently wasted paper (and money).
  • Think carefully about how many programmes / registration forms / flyers you really need to print. Many delegates prefer to receive information electronically. Even if they print it out, at least it hasn't travelled to get to them.
  • Ensure all your pre- and post-conference information is available online. If you do have to produce printed materials, use recycled paper or paper that comes from renewable or sustainable sources.
  • If possible, design promotional banners and signage that are non-dated so that you can use them again or recycle leftovers.
  • Use suppliers who are based in NewcastleGateshead. They can deliver products direct to your venue reducing the amount of fuel used on transportation (and your costs).
  • Ask your suppliers about their environmental policy and check the amount of packaging that could be wasted.
  • Ask your chosen conference venue and hotels about their green policies. Do they have a recycling policy? Do they have an environmental / ethical procurement policy?

Catering:

  • Request that during refreshment breaks, milk, sugar and biscuits are not served in individual sachets / wrappings.
  • Request that drinking water is served in pitchers rather than individual bottles. NewcastleGateshead's drinking water is safe and tastes good.
  • Use durable crockery and cutlery rather than disposable items for serving food.
  • When planning your menus, ask your venues about local or regional produce. Not only will this give your event a distinctive North East England flavour, but it will also reduce the amount of energy used getting your food from the field on to your delegates' plates.
  • If suitable local or regional produce isn't available, ask for organic, seasonal and / or ethically traded produce.

Conference transport:

  • Encourage your delegates to walk or use public transport when they're in NewcastleGateshead. NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau can provide free city maps and pocket guides to help people find their way around.
  • Provide your delegates with the NewcastleGateshead Conference Travel Card. The card offers your delegates unlimited use of the Metro and Quaylink ultra-low emission buses. This makes it easy for your delegates to get around, will reduce their reliance on cars or taxis and is great value for money.
  • Ensure vehicles used during the event are appropriate in size for the number of delegates you are transporting.
  • If you a splitting your event between venues, provide a shuttle service between venues rather than delegates using taxis.

During your event:

  • Remind your delegates of your green objectives - encourage them to reduce wastage of paper, water and other supplies.
  • Reduce wastage at registration - register delegates electronically and provide well-placed recycling bins.
  • Use non-toxic markers for presentations.
  • Put copies of handouts, brochures and notes at the entrance to meeting rooms rather than on every chair - this will ensure only delegates with a genuine interest / need will take them.
  • If you're photocopying documents before or during your event, ensure staff know how to copy double-sided or on multiple pages.
  • Avoid flip charts where possible. Instead make use of erasable dry boards and white screen technology.
  • Encourage exhibitors to collect business cards rather than handing out brochures to all delegates.
  • Remind delegates to hand in their name badges for re-use at the end of your event.
  • Remember to turn off lights and air conditioning in all meeting rooms that aren't being used.
  • Turn off PCs, photocopiers and other appliances completely when not in use - don't leave them on standby.
  • Ask speakers to send handouts electronically to interested delegates after the meeting.

After your event:

  • At the end of the event, ask delegates if they were they aware of the green initiatives you incorporated into their event and if they have any additional suggestions which could be implemented for future conferences.
  • Incorporate the local community into your conference. Ask exhibitors to donate their left over flowers, stationery, giveaways such as pens and t-shirts to local hospitals, schools, groups etc.
  • Publish proceedings or results online or on CD Rom.

Further information:

For more tips and information, visit the following websites:

To participate in the Conference Ambassador Programme, or to find out more, even if you don’t have a specific event in mind, please contact Caroline Reed, Conference Development Manager, T: +44 (0)191 440 5759, E: caroline.reed@ngi.org.uk.

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