As a meeting planner, it’s important to stay ahead of the sustainability curve by presenting attendees with venues and services that are held to the highest environmental standards. Many measures once considered mere eco-friendly trends are now expected by event attendees.

Not only is Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center the first convention center in the United States to receive the LEED-EB silver level certification, but our own Monona Catering is extremely environmentally conscious as well.

1. Waste Not, Want Not – Compost.
The food component of your event is one area in which important steps can be taken to make a sustainable impact. Meeting planners often encounter situations like lower than expected attendance that can lead to food going to waste, but Monona Catering works to counteract this by going to extra lengths to compost pre-consumer food scraps. By preventing this  organic material from ending up in landfills, you can easily lower the overall carbon footprint of your event.

In 2010, Monona Catering partnered with We Conserve, an initiative that orchestrates the collection and composting of food on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. This program has changed the way Monona Catering handles food. In 2010, Monona Catering diverted 10 tons of pre-consumer organic materials from going into a landfill, and within one year it doubled this effort, with 20 tons diverted in 2011 and 26 tons diverted in 2012. These numbers represent the significant environmental progress that can be made by making a simple change to the way your event manages its waste.

2. It’s Easy Being Green – Donate.
Food that was prepared but never served at an event can often be donated to local organizations such as food pantries, lowering the environmental impact of the meal even further and giving back to the community simultaneously. In 2012, Monona Catering donated 6,751 lbs of food to different local organizations and food banks. As a meeting planner, composting and donating are two excellent and uncomplicated ways you can help your event venue produce less strain on the environment.

3. It’s All in the Packaging
Monona Catering also infuses environmental practices into its operations. For example, Monona Catering stocks water stations with compostable corn resin cups and uses box lunch packaging made from recycled materials. These products improve the green status of an event while serving as tangible reminder to attendees of the green practices at hand.

In the eco-conscious landscape we inhabit today, attendees at your event will certainly have the environment on their minds. By employing practices like the ones outlined above, you can provide them with a venue and experience that will encourage this eco-friendly mindset and make your event even more impactful. Make sure to highlight this aspect of your event in your marketing approach, and you will grab people’s attention and make your event that much more appealing.

Moving forward as you book meetings, ask yourself a few questions. Does the facility use environmentally friendly materials? What do they do with the extra food at the end of the event? What kind of recycling program do they have in place? With the right answers, your meeting can make a difference that will not only impress your attendees, but will also contribute to the benefit of our environment for future generations.

To learn more about Monona Catering practices, contact Patty Lemke, CPCE and General Manager of Monona Catering, at 608.261.4040.