Meetings: Five Simple Ways Operations are Going Green and How it Affects the Bottom Line

By Bruce Fears President, ARAMARK Harrison Lodging | February 20, 2010

"It's not easy being green" may be the tagline for everyone's favorite frog, but it does not necessarily ring true when it comes to environmental responsibility. As the green trend moves away from an overnight fad into an actual movement, companies from clothing distributors to the meetings industry are taking serious action to ensure that Mother Earth is still around for future generations.

Going green is especially imperative to the meetings and hotel industries. While hotel and conference customers may not think twice about using a new towel with every shower, leaving the lights on when no one is in the room, or printing out more copies than are needed, companies like ARAMARK Harrison Lodging are taking their environmental responsibility seriously. It is important to keep in mind that the average hotel purchases more products in one week than one hundred families typically do in a year. Add to this the products and services used for learning and training events and it is easy to see why conference centers can have a huge impact on the environment.

According to the Convention Industry Council, "A green meeting or event incorporates environmental considerations to minimize its negative impact on the environment." Meeting planners recognize the importance of environmental responsibility and are now choosing venues not only based on location and price but also like sustainable cuisine and recycle-friendly properties when planning their next gathering.

Conference centers are helping planners with the dirty work, and it's not just about recycling these days. ARAMARK Harrison Lodging (AHL) is committed to promoting environmentally-friendly practices and is now holding its more than 50 properties accountable for minimizing their effect on the environment. AHL's Environmental Steward program, led by Karen Wittig, vice president of sustainability and environmental education of AHL, represents one of the industry's most comprehensive plans to reduce the impact professional services has on the environment. AHL's environmental expertise helps clients create a competitive advantage in the marketplace through a demonstration of corporate social responsibility and thought leadership in the green meetings arena. It also has the potential to deliver financial and operational results that streamline event execution and help clients achieve their business goals. This expertise can provide customers with the benefits of an eco-friendly event while minimizing the impact their purchases and consumption have on the environment.

In-house environmental stewards designated at each ARAMARK Harrison Lodging conference center and park property help implement and develop these standards. The stewards are responsible for researching local suppliers and establishing relationships with environmental agencies to help understand the available resources and how they can be integrated into operations. The ultimate goal is to show continual improvements towards a long-term objective of reducing dependency on natural resources.

As part of its Environmental Steward Program, ARAMARK Harrison Lodging offers environmentally-friendly operating guidelines and practices in five key areas: ** **

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