Establish a Green Event Policy for your Organization
Challenge #15 – Establish a Green Event Policy
Climate justice IS social justice, and eliminating toxic products in your business is one way to advance the environmental and social responsibility of your company. Our IDEA challenge for April, the month we celebrate Earth Day, is to create a Green Event Policy for all events or meetings held within your space, for members and guests.
A green event policy is a way to provide guidance for the reduction or elimination of single-use plastics and other waste for any event or meeting held in your facility. This is a powerful way for coworking and small business to make a positive impact on the climate crisis through incremental, collective action and thereby make a positive impact on the environmental crisis which so clearly impacts underserved communities.
For some context as to the importance of this effort on the communities supported by the IDEA project, consider these facts:
It is an unfortunate situation that at least in the United States, if you’re a person of color, particularly Black or Latino, you’re more likely to live near toxic facilities, like petrochemical plants which produce toxins that shorten and impact quality of life. For example, areas along the Mississippi River contain so many petroleum refineries that the population suffers from cancer rates 50 times higher than average. The area is tragically, colloquially known as ‘Cancer Alley.’
New York’s Long Island city of Brookhaven, located on ancestral Unkechaug land, opened in 1974 as a dumping ground for municipal solid waste. Today, the people that live in the vicinity of the Long Island landfill, also mostly people of color, have a life expectancy that is 20 years less than other residents of Long Island.
Plastic and the climate crisis go hand in hand and global warming emissions from the plastics industry will surpass emissions from coal here in the US by 2030. Plastic production, like other industries, is having a disproportionately negative impact on communities of color, so we want to work to eliminate single use plastics in our businesses and personal lives.
Communities of color are disproportionately victimized by environmental hazards and are also far more likely to live in areas with heavy pollution. People of color are more likely to die of environmental causes, and more than half of the people who live close to hazardous waste are people of color.
In August 2020 Princeton’s Student Climate Initiative (PSCI) published an article entitled, “Racial Disparities and Climate Change.” In this article, they discuss the issue of Environmental racism, which refers to unequal access to a clean environment and basic environmental resources based on race.
An EPA analysis from September 2021 shows that the most severe harms from climate change falls disproportionately upon underserved communities who are least able to prepare for, and recover from, heat waves, poor air quality, flooding, and other impacts.
On the eve of Earth Day (April 22, 2022), and out of respect for our diverse communities, we invite you, our coworking and small business friends, to establish a Green Event Policy for your organization. This policy will dictate expectations for hosting meetings and events within your organization and, for a bonus challenge, we invite you to roll it out at a ‘greened’ event for your members, clients or employees.
Extra Bonus Challenge:
Post a story on your social media about your new green event policy and/or your Earth Day event. Use the hashtags #coworkingIDEA #greenevents #singleuseplastics #sustainability #earthday2022
Some examples of what to include in your Green Event Policy
Click here to view Good Coworking’s Green Meeting Policy for inspiration.
- No single-use plastics, cutlery, tablecloths, plates, bowls, etc. Do not use ‘compostable’ service items. Myth Busting take away: Why so-called compostable products are bad
- No single-use plastic decorations – balloons, glitter, plastic leis, are all single-use plastics
- No plastic water bottles or plastic liters of soda
- Use reusable or aluminum serving containers. Aluminum can be cleaned and, unlike plastic, is very recyclable.
- Hire catering services that embrace reusables and pick sustainable food choices (vegan/vegetarian preferred)
- Encourage the purchase and use of conscientious shwag. Engage clients to consider purchasing relatively universal usable items – metal water bottles, or other reusables would be a good example.
- Reduce bin-liners by providing less properly-sized trash bins and encourage the sharing of remaining food in communal kitchens and lounges and leftover scraps to be composted
- For the supply side of meetings, use refillable Dry Erase markers, pencils in place of throwaway pens or provide refillable pens, and pencil highlighters
- No cleaning wipes – they are plastic!
Thank you to Cobot, our April IDEA Challenge Sponsor
Cobot is the leading management software for coworking spaces, office hubs, and flexible workspaces around the world. The Cobot team believes in the possibilities of coworking and enabling a collaborative, flexible, and ethical future of work.
April 27th 2022
9:00 AM Pacific | 12:00 PM Eastern
5:00 PM UK | 6:00 PM CET