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How Virtual Events Can Help Your Company Be Green

In an era of growing public concern about sustainability and the environment, many companies are seeking to “go green” in a number of ways, whether it’s recycling paper, plastic and other materials, using environmentally-sustainable sources for manufacturing, working with eco-friendly suppliers, or encouraging employees to carpool to work.

One of the most important ways that companies can demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability is to “go green” by adopting virtual events in place of traditional business travel. Virtual events can be an ideal fit for a company seeking to “go green” and operate in a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable fashion. Virtual events can have several positive effects on a company’s sustainability activities:

Business travel is bad for the environment:

Business travel is bad for the environment:

A typical passenger jet plane emits one pound of carbon dioxide, per passenger, for every mile it travels – and in a typical year, U.S. business travelers fly 240 billion passenger-miles. Air travel is particularly costly for the environment, and travel makes up 25% of a typical company’s carbon footprint. Instead of producing all of this carbon dioxide (which is a “greenhouse gas” contributing to global climate change), virtual events can help your company reduce its carbon footprint. Instead of flying your personnel and customers to a central location for an in-person event, you can host an online virtual event that brings the content (and connections) to the people.

Virtual events save paper (trees):

Even in the age of the iPad, too many “in-person” events still rely on big packets of paper – handouts, brochures, welcome packets, etc. All of this paper adds up to a significant environmental cost – especially if the paper documents are not made from recycled materials. There are numerous environmental costs to producing paper materials, ranging from the energy and water used to make the paper, to the materials used to make the inks, to the carbon footprint of shipping the paper to the meeting site. Virtual events avoid all of these environmental costs – the average virtual event (by using digital content and online documents) saves an average of 36,000 sheets of paper.

Virtual events save paper (trees)
Virtual events avoid financial and environmental costs of hotels:

Virtual events avoid financial and environmental costs of hotels:

A typical in-person event requires the attendees to stay at hotels – and despite the efforts of many hotel chains to become more eco-friendly by reducing their use of water and other resources, most hotels still consume vast amounts of resources, especially water. The typical hotel room uses 200 gallons of water per day (and luxury hotel rooms often use 475 gallons of water per day). With a virtual event, you can bring together your key audiences without incurring the environmental costs of a traditional in-person event.

Virtual events make haste, not waste:

Think of all the in-person events, business meetings, expos and conferences you’ve attended over the years: they’re awash with waste. Disposable plates and silverware at mealtime, paper handouts and brochures that end up in the trash, marketing collateral and trinkets that inevitably get thrown away. Just the nature of travelling and staying at a hotel tends to make people more wasteful than they are at home – the typical in-person conference attendee generates over 20 pounds of waste per day, compared with 4.6 pounds at home. Instead of bringing together hundreds (or thousands) of people and having to support and equip them with food, drinks, and the comforts of home (which inevitably requires lots of resources), a virtual event quickly connects your audience via an online events platform. You can still get all of the engagement and drive results for your organization, but without the environmental impact.

Virtual events make haste, not waste:
Virtual events give you a story to tell about going green:

Virtual events give you a story to tell about “going green:”

Cisco hosted an annual sales meeting in 2009 for 19,000 sales people, and the company estimates that choosing to host this gathering as a virtual event prevented 84,400 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere and saved 209,000 pounds of waste that would have been created by an in-person event. Choosing a virtual event in this case was a sustainable choice equivalent to planting 3.5 million trees! As customers become more environmentally aware, they are often looking to do business with companies who proactively “go green.” If your company uses virtual events, like Cisco, you will have a powerful story to tell as part of your marketing efforts – you can develop your own comparable statistics about how your company is helping the environment by using virtual events.

How Virtual Events Can Help Your Company Be Green

Some people might wonder, “Are the environmental benefits of virtual events worth the potential drawbacks? Will we lose something essential about the in-person experience?” To be sure, every company needs to make the right choice about how to host events and connect with audiences, and the decision often goes beyond calculations of environmental impact.

However, if you work with a good virtual events platform provider like Social27, you will get a customized, interactive and intuitive virtual event that delivers all the engagement, emotion and positive impact of a traditional in-person event – along with powerful interactive tools and data tracking. Virtual events aren’t just about saving money and reducing environmental costs – they’re a way to add value to your organization by introducing new ways to connect and build relationships with your customers and key audiences.

Ideas, Comments, Questions?

I would love to work with you to develop greener events and deploy the above mentioned practices. Thanks much for reading,

Regards,

Ike Singh Kehal
Cofounder & CEO
Social27
Blog: VirtualEventsHub.com