Green Contracts

Back in September, a few of us from Integress went to PYM’s LIVE 2009 Green Expo, supported by the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC). The best part was speaker, Kevin R. Johnston, CMP, who offered advice on incorporating green meeting clauses into vendor contracts. Inspired, we have since created Phase 1 (as in, we’re positive there will be additions and revisions), of our corporate Sustanianability Clause that we incorporate into hotel contracts henceforth. We’ve shared our clause below, but would love to hear what else we should be including, or your experiences with sustainability clauses. Are they able to be executed? Please share.

“Sustainability Clause: Integress Meetings and Events maintains a green initiative and requires the Resort to sustain and support its Green Partnership Program. The Resort further agrees to have the following practices in place:

  • Energy Conservation: Lights to be turned off when meeting rooms are not in use, maids and housekeeping staff to pull shades and close curtains when cleaning sleeping rooms. To conserve energy, air conditioning and heating turned down while guests are not the room.
  • Water Conservation: The resort will institute linen reuse program for guests of the meeting and provide notification to the guests at check-in, and provide notification cards in the rooms to create awareness and encourage participation by the conference delegates.
  • Waste Management: Recycling bins placed in prominent locations in the meeting rooms, hallways, pre-function areas and sleeping rooms to encourage separation of trash for recycling purposes. Arrange to have all left over food donated to a local food bank or composted and donated to an appropriate location.
  • Food and Beverage: All condiments and beverages to be provided in bulk containers, no bottled waters or individual juices to be provided for group food functions. Eco-Cuisine menus to incorporate local and seasonal foods wherever possible.

“Accountability Clause: Within 30 days of the conference, the resort will provide post-conference documentation outlining their adherence to the Sustainability Clause. Reports should include tally of guests participating in the linen reuse program; weight of waste recycled, composted and donated; and notification of recipient of donated food. If Resort is able to provide Eco-Cuisine we would like to receive identification of the local seasonal food vendor(s).”

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4 Comments

Filed under In Our Opinion, Industry Takes

4 responses to “Green Contracts

  1. This is a great start in that its simple and direct. You mention the Green Meeting Industry Council, so you may be familiar with the MeetGreen tool (much of the language above sounds as though you may have integrated the MeetGreen criteria for hotels and Venues? If not, check out http://www.meetgreen.com for more information..they have a template to help this question of contract language).

    I would encourage that you consider 2 things:

    1) Focus less on ‘green’ and more on (find the term you feel best describes your brand/initiative) ‘responsible’ or, perhaps, ‘sustainable’ and add a clause about human rights, or fair wages, or good governance. Check out the UN Global Compact for inspiration.

    2) Add some teeth to your contract language. What will you do if the hotel first agrees to deliver on the above but, during the event, fails to do so? Consider adding a clause about a dollar amount to be awarded to your chosen charity if the vendor fails to deliver.

    3) (i know, I said 2) Define your terms a bit.. mostly ‘eco-cusine’… growing region 100 miles from the venue? certified organic? fair trade?

    lastly, consider modifying the above into a Supplier Code of Conduct.. get their agreement in principle to your standards and invite them to join you on the journey to finding better practices… the power of collaboration is important and that stakeholder engagement process is where you’ll start to find innovations for your evolving plan.

    great work and good luck!

    Michael Luehrs

    • Meg Hasten

      Michael–These are such great points. While we’ve browsed meetgreen, I will have to go back and look into the template for contract language. Really, all of your points are right on target. We list this as our Sustainability Clause (vs. “green”) and we certainly agree the terms need more teeth, as you say. Do you have experience with hotels either in their cooperation or pushback in these regards?

      • Michael Luehrs

        Hi, Meg,

        Yes, we work with a number of groups who have initiated some aspect of ‘sustainable business’ contract language. It has yet to go seamlessly. As you might well surmise, vendors are much more receptive to committing to specific requests before they’ve been selected.
        So, it’s important that the client goals and expectations be spelled out in the Request for Proposal.
        I might also mention that suppliers, generally, want to be supportive but it can require a rather time consuming ‘stakeholder engagement’ process to educate the key players (about sustainability, about the benefits, about the client need, specific direction on how to meet the expectation, etc).
        By entering into the client/supplier relationship with a mindset of ‘partnership’ (“How can we best work together to achieve these ends?”), the potential for optimum results is enhanced.

        Hope to see you in Denver for the GMIC Sustainable Events Conference! A bit more on why I think it’s a smart business investment here http://bit.ly/5RErzY

  2. Pingback: Green Contract Clauses at Work « Events Lounge

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