I put this picture up on Google Plus yesterday and it is still bothering me so much that I decided to post my thoughts here, a larger audience for me than Google Plus.
My thinking was, how many times do the unsuspecting buy into the load of crap that companies in the industry are selling us. I snapped this image while I was at a Hilton in Chicago. This is the bottle of water that they serve.
One of our group said “Oh COOL” and I just sat and laughed and explained that this is the worst type of greenwashing ther... read more
So, it turns out, there's a problem with Fair Trade.
Not only that, but you know that "Don't print this email" tag? The one you put in your footer because you want to educate people about not printing? Well, that causes over 2000 MT of CO2 emissions.
Oh and that biodiesel bus you were booking for your event? Well think again. It might be biting the hand that feeds, contributing to rising food prices around the globe.
Seriously, keeping up with the ongoing debate about what is good, better and best in the field of ... read more
Not long ago I tuned into the Climate Reality Project, a 24-hour, virtual global event to share the truth about climate change. I lurked for the content primarily, but also curious about how the event was designed, wondering if it would reflect the content of the message.
Several years ago, Live Earth - Al Gore's previous event to raise awareness about the climate crisis - appealed to the music fan in me, but left the event professional in me wondering if the message was compromised by the format of the event. With ... read more
We are the 99%
Not the 99% occupying Wall Street, or sitting on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery this morning. But the 99% of sustainable event organizers that realizes 1% of sustainable events have it a lot different than the rest.
First let me define what I mean by "The 1%" and "The 99%". The 1% are mega-events: large-scale, city-wide and often globally significant events. The Olympic Games, FIFA's World Cup. The kinds of events that cities trip over themselves trying to win.
The 99% are those events that ev... read more
Cities around the world are doing whatever they can to improve the feel, the attractiveness and the economic competitiveness of their cities. And that means investing in sustainable forms of transportation. And that increasingly means investing in a high quality cycling network.
Janette Sadik-Kahn, Commissioner, NYC DOT
Last year the City of Vancouver expanded cycling routes through downtown. I'm not a biker myself, but have to admit, it has made walking through downtown a little more pleasant. And watching... read more
Last week the UN Food & Agriculture Organization released a report stating one-third of food goes to waste. The equivalent of 1.3 billion tons, or the weight of 3,400 Golden Gate Bridges. In the US this amounts to 253 lbs of food wasted per person every year, according to Valerie Jaffee of the NRDC.
The food waste issue is particularly relevant for events. Audits of actual events reveal approximately 18% of event waste is organic material: food. The number is even higher when you factor in pack... read more
Philip Crosby, quality guru, famously said that
“Quality is free”.
His argument was that if you did it right the first time, you would save money otherwise spent on reworking or, in the case of products, wasted on scrap. What can be said about sustainability? Cost is, as noted in previous posts, at least the perceived bane of sustainability programs.
Long-term, we may be able to say “sustainability is free” or even “sustainability makes money”, because in the long-term, preservation of natural capital ... read more
Not long ago I read an article in Ode Magazine about how resilience, rather than sustainability should be our goal when thinking about saving our environment. It really got me thinking about how important the distinction was and how it could be applied to many other issues in our lives.
While the two terms are similar and refer to maintaining something as it is, resilience adds an element of fortification. Resilience rather than trying merely to withstand attacks, accepts the idea that attacks will happen and sign... read more
The final seven key principles of quality management as applied to sustainability.
Drive out fear so everyone is more effective. Are the words “Too big to fail” suddenly flashing in your brain? Fear has been endemic since the economic crisis on so many levels. This refers back to where we saw in Part 1 of this post that as cost was the bane of quality, so to it is of sustainability. Fear of being more expensive is counterproductive, and often not true anyhow. In Part 3 of this post, I ... read more
Every once in a while, as I continue to slog away at my MBA, I get a flash of insight. Today it was while reading about the pioneer of quality, W. Edward Deming, and the birth of total quality management (TQM). He was the person who recognized how the Japanese were able to achieve the manufacturing quality that became the envy of the world. He presented 14 points in his book, Out of the Crisis (Note: I haven’t read the book, just a summary of the points); in reading them, I was struck how ap... read more
Shibui: simple, subtle, unobtrusive beauty.
To explain it runs counter to the Japanese artistic concept embodied in the word, but alas, I will try. In describing the concept's relevance to raku pottery it is mentioned shibui is that element that is neither the artist, or the object, but the tension that connects the two of them together.
It's the fire of the kiln, the pattern a watercolour brush stains the page. It's the process that transfixes us when we become absorbed in an experience; time passes... read more
Morpheus: I imagine that right now you're feeling a bit like Alice. Tumbling down the rabbit hole?
Shawna: Actually yes. Feels kind of like that some days. The face of events is changing. More virtualization and hybrid experiences. Social networking is taking over the world. Natural disasters can throw a wrench in the most perfect of plans. Economic realities are still pressing cutbacks in travel, incentives and meetings. Increasing labor unrest. And then there's the environment, the rising cost of fue... read more
Sustainability as we know has many avenues, and I have already submitted some starter content for both greening our meetings and looking at the people-planet-profit model. From determining if your building is meeting the various global and national standards, to the vehicles (or transit, bikes or feet) we choose to mobilize ourselves and our groups with, to the choices we make with our decor, lighting, food and beverage, we can make choices that all are more "green" or sustainable.
In the bigger picture of ... read more
I stumbled upon a twitter conversation with Heidi Thorne and Tahira Endean this morning regarding lanyards.
It all started with a terrific blog post by Heidi where she was discussing a Dark Side of Going Green at Events, i.e. the challenges with reusing lanyards for events when they may be soiled, have makeup on them, etc. and how some may be uncomfortable wearing a used lanyard. Some great comments came fast and furious... obviously it had touched the audience (way to go Heidi).
So this morning, the conversat... read more