Some Practical Tips from Oracle OpenWorld

This is a joint post from Paul Salinger and Shawna McKinley.

Welcome to Earth Week.  In honor of the week we thought we’d post some practical event tips from our learnings at Oracle OpenWorld.  While the event is complex and what we measure and report on is lengthy, here are a few tips from what we have learned the last four years and some of the results we’ve had.

Don’t think the small steps you take to green your events matter? They do. In fact, we’ve learned that since 2007 Oracle has saved enough water to fill 3 Olympic-sized pools by eliminating bottled water from many events. We’ve also enabled re-investment of $1.3 million in event elements through waste-cutting actions. These achievements have made us a leader in sustainable events globally!

The approach is fairly simple:

  • Rethinking how we plan our events to align with sustainable business goals
  • Reducing what we use as priority
  • Reusing where we are able
  • Recycling any materials remaining from our events, and
  • Measuring the environmental, business and community benefits from these actions.

We’re preparing to launch an online toolkit for sustainable events in June 2011 that will be available to all Oracle staff globally.  This is taking some of the ideas from Oracle OpenWorld and creating a set of minimum guidelines for the rest of Oracle’s 8,000 events worldwide.  We’ll report on that as the year goes by.  In the meantime, here are a few ideas of best practices you can implement for your next event.  

Oracle encourages all event organizers to implement the following best practices which are do-able for nearly any event.

  1. Communicate sustainability expectations in agency/supplier briefings & agreements.
  2. Use local suppliers and staff where possible.
  3. Select venues that offer transit access and a basic set of sustainable practices that conserve energy and water and reduce waste.
  4. Provide a recycling program at the venue to capture paper, plastic, metal and glass.
  5. Eliminate un-necessary décor by taking advantage of venue features, podiums and re-usable centerpieces.
  6. Use hotels that have a basic set of sustainable practices that conserve energy and water and reduce waste and are within walking distance of venues and transit.
  7. Provide sustainable food options (locally sourced, seasonal and/or certified organic).
  8. Reduce or eliminate bottled water.
  9. Eliminate use of polystyrene.
  10. Reduce or eliminate paper use.
  11. Reduce or eliminate delegate packs, handouts and/or giveaways.
  12. Use generic, non-dated branding for any signs so they can be reused.
  13. Communicate sustainable practices to partner sponsors and exhibitors.
  14. Collect name badges for reuse.
  15. Communicate sustainable practices to attendees.
  16. Ensure collateral materials reflect sustainable qualities for either: reuse, recycled content or local recyclability.

Hope these are useful.  Happy Greening of your events!!


One response to “Some Practical Tips from Oracle OpenWorld

  1. Thanks Paul! To add a footnote to the sharing: this list emerged from working with a global ‘green’ team of event marketers at Oracle over much of 2010. This team attempted close to 40 pilot projects in 25 countries. The events varied in size from 50 to 10,000 participants, including half-day to multi-day meetings. Across all this diversity of events emerged these 16 universal ‘best practices’ that the team determined were practical in most situations. Kudos to the planners at Oracle and the agencies they work with that contributed to this list!

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