At a time where the world is facing a worrying environmental outlook, event buyers can harness their influence and make a difference more than they may realise, says Mike Van der Vijver, consultant, trainer and facilitator for Mindmeeting.

“Event buyers have so much power through the way they purchase – because they purchase so much,” he says. “I think people in the industry underestimate how much influence they can exercise by making the right choices about how they spend their clients’ money. How they deal with food waste, transportation of delegates, the amount of time delegates spend travelling.”

While buyers’ clients may not see green meetings as a priority, there are opportunities to provide eco-friendly solutions that simultaneously help achieve a meeting’s objectives more effectively.

“At Connections Meetings in Portugal, we had a four-hour train transfer, and we did ‘training on the train’” says Mike. “And sure, it was a challenge. But we used those four hours in a really useful way to construct new networking opportunities for people.”

At the same time, thinking about the environmental cost of an event can be useful for preventing “meetings for meetings’ sake.”

“At Mindmeeting, the question that we always ask people at the very start of our design projects is “do you need a meeting for this?” says Mike.  “‘Do you need to fly 500 people to the same place to achieve this organisational objective? And if not, don’t do it. Because it’s a terrible burden on the environment.

“If you do, then let’s be very clear about why you want it, and what you want to get out of it, so it produces something.”

To find our more about attending an upcoming Connections Meetings event, contact David Benitez on [email protected]