Since it seems that green meetings are here to stay, it helps to know some of the terminology that helps keep our events more earth friendly. A recent article by Meeting Professionals International discussed Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and listed some terms to help clarify what's what and to prevent misuse of some vocabulary.
Carbon Footprint: This refers to the total set of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, product or event. For reporting ease, this is frequently presented in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide or its equivalent of other GHGs emitted.
Carbon Neutral: Means creating no net release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Carbon Offset: A financial tool aimed at reducing GHG emissions. Emissions are measured in metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) and can represent six primary categories of greenhouse gases. Each carbon offset represents the reduction of one metric ton of CO2e.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Growing in trend and popularity, it's also known as corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship or sustainable responsibility. This is the deliberate inclusion of public interest into corporate decision making and honoring the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit.
Fair Trade: A way to help producers in developing countries get a chance to be involved with better trading conditions. It's a social movement and also promotes sustainability.
Food Miles: This is how far your food has traveled to see you.
Green Meeting: According to MeetGreen, "Greening a meeting or event encompasses all aspects of the strategic planning process. By making choices at every level of planning, from site selection to serving condiments from bulk containers, you can significantly reduce the environmental impact of the event. Green meetings also incorporate social aspects including charitable contributions and humanitarian efforts."
Sustainable: Conserving an ecological balance by avoiding the depletion of natural resources.
For more information, see the Cvent Resource, "Green Meetings Made Easy."