The Importance of Creating Environmental Partnerships with Your Vendor and Suppliers - Being Green

Building green partnerships with those you do business with is the key to creating the most environmentally friendly meetings possible - each and every time. Working with others is a daily undertaking in our industry. We interact with and do business with our co-workers and management, numerous vendors and suppliers, sponsors, our clientele and often with other organizations and meeting planners when we produce our events. Each individual or company we deal with has an integral role to the success of our event which mean, each should be on board when it comes to being environmental and sustainable. By collectively striving for the same results and goals, we generate binding and lasting partnerships with those we work with. The same type of partnership applies when we are talking about greening the meeting industry.

How do we go about generating these green partnerships with those we work with regardless of who they are and the roles they play? If it is our desire to become more environmental then it is our responsibility to educate others about our green goals and new practices. So first we must develop our own green foundation and describe what that means in writing and then share with the others we cooperate with.

Building a "green team" with a "green vision" from within your company with your associates is the first and foremost partnership to form. While we depend upon and rely on other people, companies and organizations that we have worked with for years, we must have a solid set of guidelines and standards from within our own companies and organizations in order to ask others to join us in our new environmental direction. The green policies and procedures must come from you first - from the partnerships you have created with your co-workers and colleagues.

Delegate responsibility to yourself or a co-worker to form the green team and begin to establish the guidelines and standards and policy and procedures. Get the buy in from your colleagues and management then share with the others involved in the decision making process and the direct reports. Your environmental initiatives should feel like a natural extension of your current policies and procedures. Keep it simple but make it relevant. It's critically important to engage your entire organization in your initiatives and bring them in on the green vision you have established.

When it comes to creating green partnerships with outside vendors and suppliers and when working with other planners, communication is the key. It is imperative that you communicate with your current vendors and suppliers your new green vision and ask them if they have green initiatives or if they are willing to adopt some of yours. Many may be reluctant to do so because of lack of education and experience. And one of the biggest challenges is the resistance because they believe it is going to cost them more money. To overcome these challenges, you must begin the conversation and be equipped with answers to the litany of questions that are bound to come up. This new way of being and doing will require education on everyone's part. This is a good partnership when you work together as a team.

You can either educate them, ask them to make some changes or find other vendors who will. But the last thing you what to do is lose a good resource because we know how hard breaking in a new vendor and establishing a new relationship can be. So the best solution is to bring people on board and train them if necessary. Some of your vendors may already have green options and without the conversation, you didn't know about them. So ask and maybe together you can come up with solutions and answers. This is how the partnerships between all of your business relationships are established. The winning strategy is to make sure everyone involved with your event is on the same page.

Make your partnerships real and make sure your associates are dependable and responsible enough to follow through. Sometimes this means getting these agreements and policies into the contracts. Do not be afraid to put your green requirements in writing. Negotiate until you are satisfied with the results. We know that circumstances will arise where our green initiatives will not fit into a particular event, but we can come close or compromise. Good negotiation skills and good contracts are imperative at this juncture.