Green Jobs in Event Planning - dummies

Green Jobs in Event Planning

By Carol L. McClelland

Believe it or not, you can make a green career transition into many different service fields, including event planning. Although this has long been considered a resource-wasting field, an eco-conscious event planner can make a significant contribution to creating a healthy, sustainable future through green meetings — and find plenty of great job opportunities that help the environment on the way.

Conferences, trade shows, weddings, and other large gatherings are generally energy-consuming, waste-producing ventures. Whether planned by internal staff or external consultants, creating events with the lowest possible carbon footprint and highest possible waste diversion is the goal of green meetings.

Each meeting is a confluence of vendors and venues. According to BlueGreen Meetings, each of the following groups has a role to play in greening events:

  • Convention and visitors bureaus: Professionals trying to bring large conventions to town must be able to demonstrate what the city and region are doing to become more sustainable. They may also be asked to recommend venues, hotels, and activities in the area that meet the green initiatives of the meeting planner/sponsoring organization.

  • Accommodations: Hotels have an array of actions they can take to reduce their impact on the environment. From guest services to hotel-wide systems, changes can be made.

  • Meeting/event venues: The meeting site itself has special challenges and opportunities. Feeding, engaging, entertaining, and cleaning up after a large group for several days is intense. Special care must be taken to find sustainable ways to achieve each desired outcome.

  • Transportation: The vendors that provide ground and air transportation to and from the event must also be brought into the loop. By doing research upfront, the meeting planner can suggest the greenest alternatives to the attendees.

  • Food and beverage: Sourcing, preparing, serving, and disposing of leftovers several times a day for the duration of the meeting requires coordination and creative thinking. Working with the venue’s catering staff can bring innovative solutions to the situation.

  • Exhibition production: The exhibit hall brings its own set of challenges as each vendor arrives with its own handouts, giveaways, signage, and displays. Providing recommendations and guidelines can ensure that the exhibit hall activities reflect the green initiatives of the event.

If you’re interested in a career in event planning, here are some jobs you can consider. Note that you’ll have to do some extra vetting to find the environmentally-conscious organizations and green jobs in each field.

  • Meeting management: Meeting planner, meeting coordinator, registration coordinator, conference assistant, conference manager, events manager, membership and conference coordinator, programs and meeting manager, government event planner, event center coordinator, corporate event planner, event planner/finance manager, senior event planner, special event planner, meeting planning consultant, conference setup attendant, trade show specialist, conference services manager, convention services manager, travel coordinator, meeting assistant, meeting coordinator, meeting assistant, meeting director, event operations

  • Marketing and sales: Marketing coordinator, senior marketing communications manager, global account manager, sales manager, outside sales manager, group sales manager, marketing specialist

  • Communications: Communications specialist, advertising coordinator, promotions assistant, public relations specialist

  • Supplier services: Catering and events services manager, catering manager, catering coordinator, director of banquets, audio/visual film technicians, florists, convention and visitors bureaus representative