In a recent study, the Green Meeting Industry Council found that customers and third-party planners want suppliers to share information about sustainability in their proposals. The study, entitled Sustainable meeting and event practices: The state of the industry, was conducted by the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and included survey responses from event industry suppliers, third-party planners and customers.
Overall the study tracked quantitative information such as whether the respondents participated in or tracked different types of sustainable behavior, and the level of participation in sustainability-related certifications. The study also included a qualitative portion where respondents were asked “What sustainable practices do you wish your suppliers/vendors would provide?”
The result I consider to pose the greatest opportunity for event suppliers is the finding that customers want suppliers to talk about sustainability in their RFP responses up-front, without having to ask for it. However, supplier respondents indicated that they often wait for customers to ask about sustainability and do not typically provide this information in the proposal.
This disconnect provides a great opportunity for suppliers to better serve their customers by providing information about sustainability directly in their proposals. One of my key philosophies when it comes to sustainable event planning is that you never know who’s going to be interested in sustainability, so you should offer it to everyone. Even if you’re proposing services to a company you don’t consider green, there are a myriad of factors that go into the decision to be more sustainable, from the organization’s values to personal interest from key leaders to interest in saving money and resources. A company may be considering becoming more green but need an easy opportunity to take the first step—which your event proposal can provide.
If your company participates in green practices such as recycling, reducing waste or cutting your energy usage, don’t hide it—do your business and your customers a favor by sharing this information in proposals. You may be surprised at how much interest, and maybe even new customers, you’ll receive as a result.