On Sunday, Feb. 20, green industry leaders, practitioners and those interested in green event practices descended on a destination that lives and breathes sustainability: Portland, Ore. The Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) chose one of the most sustainable destinations available in the United States.
I got off the plane, picked up my bags and walked directly (no shuttle or separate AirTrain) out to the MAX Light Rail Service. The Red Line dropped us off directly in front of the LEED Existing Building Certified DoubleTree, our conference hotel, and offered us connections to the convention center and many other city attractions and neighborhoods.
Conference communication was available via mobile device applications and there were no printed materials, aside from name badges. Through an interactive case study game, attendees were encouraged to communicate through Twitter, blogs and in their real life teams to complete tasks based on their case studies, competing to score points. All paperless. There were bar codes on the biodegradable badges that allowed conference organizers to monitor our participation in the breakout sessions and with exhibiting sponsors.
The food was truly a highlight. The local, seasonal and organic menu was delicious and gave great fuel for us to work and learn. All meals were served on reusable china, with glassware and silverware. Chef Ward of the DoubleTree served delicious frittatas, fresh fruit, yogurt and even cheese for breakfast. I appreciated a cheese plate first thing in the morning, though it was a first for me. Attendees were taken on a Dine-Around-Town that featured restaurants that operate within the farm-to-table framework, which doesn’t skimp on flavor.
The content featured the highest standards of green event education. Top planners and suppliers presented sessions on the work they were accomplishing, providing explanations of how they were able to get buy in from clients, vendors, staff and attendees. Topics ranged from the environmental theory of Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt’s Natural Step to the highest level of green event execution, as explained by the USGBC’s Green Build.
If you are interested in the opportunity to participate in these types of discussions over the next year and in person at next year’s conference go to the GMIC website, become a member, find a local chapter and mark your calendar for next spring to attend one of the top conferences to watch.
Editor’s note: Plan Your Meetings has been a media sponsor of the GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference since 2009.