More than just the latest trend, environmentally conscious meetings, receptions, conferences, weddings, seminars, retreats, birthday parties, bar mitzvahs and anniversary parties make good business sense. According to TheGreenGuide, municipal composting, green design, a high percentage of renewable energy and a high use of public transportation propelled San Francisco into the top 25 green cities in the US in 2006, and the top ten in 2005!

Planning a meeting or an event such as a wedding, party, receptions, graduation event, or conference in San Francisco?

Good choice!

San Francisco is a great destination with its panoramic views, museums, distinctive architecture and the cable cars made famous by those Rice-a-Roni ads.

As you plan your meeting or event, here are some environmentally-friendly tips to consider:

Set Recycling Goals and Select Vendors Accordingly

• Compose a checklist of environmental goals for your meeting, conference or event.

• Calculate a dollar value for how much money your event can save by following the green practices outlined below.

• Share your focus on the environment with the venue and service providers such as caterers, florists etc.  Discuss the recycling options available.

Choose the Venue Location

• Select a well-lit location in San Francisco with lots of natural light to minimize use of electricity for heat and lightAquarium of the Bay

•Choose a San Francisco venue that is centrally located and readily accessible via San Francisco public transportation such as buses, trains, bike paths and car pool arrangements. This reduces parking congestion as well.

•Select a venue with outdoor space to rent. The Asian Art Museum offer wonderful outdoor space for rent.

• Locate a sustainable building in San Francisco for your venue. The Moscone Center has a rooftop solar electrical system for generating power.

• Select San Francisco hotels that are walking distance from the venue.

• Consider outdoor locations in San Francisco such as Conservatory of Flowers

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

• Go Paperless. Send online invitations.

• Shop for meeting, party, wedding or conference supplies locally.

• Incorporate reusable elements as much as possible – china, glass or washable plastic for plates, serveware, coffee mugs, name badges, promotional materials, handouts etc.

• Avoid mass producing materials and handouts for your meeting, conference, retreat, off-site, seminar, wedding or reception. Take orders for copies instead. Use recycled materials for coffee cups, food packaging etc. Use double-sided copies. Consider soy/vegetable based inks for printing.

• Make sure lights and air conditioning are turned off when rooms are not in use.

• Encourage meeting and party attendees to recycle. Promote your message through meeting materials, announcements, clearly marked recycle bins and signs.

• Select eco-friendly accommodations in San Francisco such as the Argonaut Hotel.

• The Hotel Triton in Union Square is a leader in being environmentally friendly, offering eco-friendly rooms and using ‘green’ cleaning products. According to their website, they donate a percentage of their room revenues to the Trust for Public Land.

• Collect unused items from meeting and party attendees at the end of the event. Put unwanted items to good use at other meetings, parties, conferences or events.

• Consider donations to Goodwill San Francisco

Serve Green

• Catering – eat green. Select local and seasonal produce in San Francisco for your menu options. Rainbow Grocery

• Donate food surplus to San Francisco food banks, charities or shelters. Consider putting food waste in a compost bin

• Conserve water. Use water pitchers or coolers instead of water bottles.

• Make sure the attendee head count is accurate to reduce food and paper waste.

Communicate, Educate and Reward

• Share your meeting’s green objectives at the beginning of your event. Communicate the environmental gains made with everyone’s collaborative effort at the close of your event. Together you can make a difference!

• Share a Reward for achieving meeting green goals – gift a tree sapling from Trees – The National Arbor Day Foundation, or a plant. Give awards made from recycled glass.

• Share the dollar value saved through everyone’s recycling efforts.

Eco-Friendly Sightseeing for Your Attendees

• Have some downtime during your conference or seminar? Enjoy the green spaces in San Francisco such as the Yerba Beuna Gardens (left), Presidio Golf Course & Clubhouse

• Plan a scenic Nature trip in San Francisco –  Fun Filled Natural History Adventures with Nature Trip

• Relax after the meeting, seminar, wedding or reception and have an organic drink or two in San Francisco at Elixir