Becoming eco-friendly isn’t only a wide spreading trend, but it is becoming something extremely necessary when considering the severity of the state that the human footprint is resulting in here on earth. By implementing the change to introduce eco-friendly planning methods into events, we will be able to provide an extremely necessary example in the need for everyone to consider going green!
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In order to implement this change into event planning we must first consider the importance of establishing the right management and leadership tactics required to facilitate this new adjustment. It is important to choose the right leaders, establish a strong change team, and involve all employees and clients for constructive feedback and fresh ideas. Smith (2014) states that “implementing organizational change is always a difficult task because it requires that employees alter their routines, thinking, and habits in a way that affects their work”.
With regard to choosing the right leaders for change implementation, Smith (2014) suggests that the organization find leaders who are already in line and in agreeance with the intended change. These chosen leaders should be able to assist the other associates in accepting the change, and ensure they’re approachable if an associate becomes uncomfortable with the change initially. Having someone dependable and respectable to approach during a stressful time makes change easier to accept.
Establishing a strong change team is the second step in establishing the right management and leadership tactics to facilitate this change. Smith (2014) recommends including people within an organization that may not be “top-tier employees” but do provide the experience and sustainability to keep the organization running. Pulling individuals from all departments within the organization to create this team will, according to Smith (2014), aid in “communicating to all employees on what exactly is going on to create an understanding from the onset of change implementation to the adoption of the change”.
Finally, involving all employees within the organization on the intent of the change will help them understand the way forward as well as their requirements to meet new expectations. By expressing the importance of their skills and the reliance that the organization has on them will boost their confidence and hopefully push them to be more accepting and more cooperative towards the change.
The method of communication in which you present your organization with the change is valuable to the acceptance of this process adjustment. The management team should not introduce their intent without considering the receptive abilities of their team. In this instance, verbally communicating your intent in a group setting to include all employees is recommended. Burdo (2018) suggests that verbal communication provides clarity and helps save time when providing a large group with information. She believes that collective open communication allows for spontaneous questions, clarity, and allows for immediate answers to be provided to ensure everyone fully understands the way forward.
In order to plan and control the tactics necessary to reach all requirements surrounding the decision to implement an eco-friendly event planning concept, it is important to consider everything with an open mind. Considering things like green destinations, transportation options, and removing, reducing, and recycling waste from an event, to solar power options and sourcing local items to support local business and boost the economy, are all necessary to an eco-conscious event. Green Destinations (2019) describe the following core values:
- Genuine: supporting the authentic celebration of local culture and tradition.
- Responsible and Respectful: avoiding exploitation of people in tourism, and preventing disruptive mass tourism (overtourism).
- Economically Sustainable: involving the local business community and enhancing local community employment.
- Environment and Climate-Friendly: combatting the climate crisis, environmental degradation and pollution, whilst ensuring public health.
- Nature and Scenery Friendly: protecting scenic views, landscapes, natural habitats and wildlife. (greendestinations.org, 2019, p. 1)
These core values help attract ‘green travelers’ and ‘green planners’ alike. This process allows different ‘green destinations’ to enhance their value, and desirability, all while being eco-conscious.
Another planning and control tactic is transportation, which should be a huge consideration when implementing the change to become eco-friendly. McKinley (2019) suggests choosing a location for your event that is accessible by foot or bicycle, removing the need of carbon dioxide emitting transportation. Figure 1 below provides common carbon emissions supporting an event. She also suggests sourcing local rentals and consolidating freight shipment (if relevant) to reduce cost. Offering or providing shuttle services, as well as encouraging carpooling, will reduce emissions and cut back on used parking spaces.
Properly reducing, reusing, and recycling waste should also be considered when planning an event as well. Providing recycling bins, offering products that are 100 percent bio-degradable, and omitting the use of plastics will help tremendously in an effort to responsibly go green. Figure 2 below shows the typical waste footprint produced during a mid-sized event.
Figure 1 Carbon Footprint Contributions
Note. Percentages of carbon emitting forms of transportation. Reused from New Sustainable Event Management (2019 Edition): A Free Guide to Better Green Meetings. Retrieved from https://www.eventmanagerblog.com/sustainable-event-management
Figure 2 Typical Trash in an Event Venue
Note. Commonly produced waste and recyclables from an event. Reused from New Sustainable Event Management (2019 Edition): A Free Guide to Better Green Meetings. Retrieved from https://www.eventmanagerblog.com/sustainable-event-management
Measuring feedback, and evaluation methods can be combined by gathering data and creating measuring tools or practices for collection from an event where the aforementioned eco-friendly methods have been applied. During an event, attendees can be asked to provide constructive feedback of their experiences and how the eco-friendly touches enhanced or hindered their involvement. Follow-up emails could also be sent out to attendees to provide an evaluation of the event. However, it seems most advantageous to receive an actual measure of satisfaction while attendees are at the event and while their experiences are still fresh. Another idea would be to create an app for a smart phone that is relevant to your event. The attendees could download this app when they arrive and provide real-time suggestions and experiences throughout their stay.
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Common contingencies when introducing something new could be the initial resistance, skepticism, or fear of increased and unnecessary workload. Combating these contingent limitations is where the leaders and change team of the organization come into play and provide motivation and clear guidance and purpose for this change. Another contingency could be the cost associated with the initial change as well as potential reluctance from clients or event attendees. Planning ahead and ensuring funds are available for the initial onset of these changes is important in responding to this contingency. With time, clients, employees, and event attendees will realize the significance of going green and the eventual overwhelming support will be worth the time, effort and costs associated with implementing this change.
In conclusion, joining in on the wide spreading eco-friendly trend will potentially boost the success of an organization as well as increase improvements that are made in an effort to decrease the negative impacts we are creating here on earth. Introducing eco-friendly techniques within an event will set the example for other companies to join the trend and go green.
- Burdo, H. (2018, October 25). Types of Communication Problems in Organizations. Retrieved from https://bizfluent.com/info-8296280-types-communication-problems-organizations.html
- Green Destinations - About Us. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://greendestinations.org/
- McKinley, S. (2019, September 12). New Sustainable Event Management (2019 Edition): A Free Guide to Better Green Meetings. Retrieved from https://www.eventmanagerblog.com/sustainable-event-management
- Smith, C. (2014, September 17). 3 Techniques For Implementing Organizational Change. Retrieved from https://change.walkme.com/3-techniques-for-implementing-organizational-change/
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