Sponsored by Lane Powell

Make your gathering greener

| Print |  Email
Saturday, March 01, 2008


Companies today know the importance of presenting a green face to their customers, but what goes on in the boardroom itself isn’t always so environmentally friendly. Business meetings and events can gobble up a surprising amount of resources and produce mounds of waste. A few simple, eco-conscious changes, however, can make a big difference.

Cynthia Fuhrman, communications manager for the Portland Office of Sustainable Development, and Amy Spatrisano, a principal at Portland-based Meeting Strategies Worldwide and co-author of Simple Steps to Green Meetings and Events, have some suggestions to make your gathering a little greener.

1. Reduce where you can, Spatrisano suggests. Instead of providing handouts to everyone at a meeting, project a PowerPoint presentation on the wall or write important points on a whiteboard. After the meeting, highlights can be e-mailed to attendees to save paper.

2. Where you can’t reduce, reuse. If snacks are on the meeting agenda, forget the disposable plates and utensils. “It takes 10 times more energy and natural resources to produce 1,000 plastic forks than to wash a metal fork 1,000 times,” Spatrisano says. If any food is left over, compost or donate it to charity.

3. “If you are using materials that are not reusable, make sure that they are recyclable,” Fuhrman says. Have separation bins on hand and make sure they’re used. Also, look for products already made from recycled materials.

4. If it’s necessary to go offsite, do some research before committing to a location for your meeting or event. Consider the geographic location of attendees to reduce travel distances, and ask around to see which venues follow environmentally responsible practices. Some hotels, for example, save water by only washing towels and bed linens by guest request.

5. Using local food, labor and products reduces shipping and, therefore, carbon emissions. If products and attendees are coming from out of town, Fuhrman suggests purchasing energy offset credits to reduce the net impact of your event.


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


More Articles

Cutting Edge

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

“There wasn’t a reason shaving with a straight razor should have been taken over by shaving with disposable razors.”


Adjusting to the New Economy

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

A conversation with Jonathan Bennett, managing partner at law firm Dunn Carney Allen Higgins & Tongue.


Up on the Roof

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

In 2010 Vanessa Keitges and several investors purchased Portland-based Columbia Green Technologies, a green-roof company. The 13-person firm has a 200% annual growth rate, exports 30% of its product to Canada and received its first infusion of venture capital in 2014 from Yaletown Venture Partners. CEO Keitges, 40, a Southern Oregon native who serves on President Obama’s Export Council, talks about market innovation, scaling small business and why Oregon is falling behind in green-roof construction. 


Counterpoint: CLT not as green as people think

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
photo-flickr-glasseyes viewthymbBY GREGG LEWIS | OP-ED

The issue of green-washing remains a significant challenge to those of us who would like to see the building sector in this country do more than make unverifiable claims of sustainability. Transparency about the impacts of a given material is the only way to allow designers to make intelligent choices when selecting building products.


New green wood building product takes off in Oregon

Thursday, September 10, 2015
091115-cltjohnson-thumbBY KIM MOORE

Oregon is set to become a hub of a new type of wooden building design as a southern Oregon timber company becomes the first certified manufacturer of a high-tech wood product, known as cross-laminated timber, or CLT.


Living the dream

Friday, August 21, 2015

smugglespearsthumbRenee Spears, founder and owner of Portland-based Rose City Mortgage, is hot to trot to sell pot.


Aim High

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

We get the education we deserve.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02