Paperless meetings… possible?

As it has been clear throughout, we planned EventCamp with sustainability front of mind. Is it possible to plan an event with (almost) no paper? YES!

The paper we printed and the places we saved are below

ECV11 green

A game checkpoint

* one sign – used for the commercial and at registration.  The Bell technology in house at the Vancouver Convention Centre allowed us to provide an incredible amount of information without using any paper

* all the registration was electronic – no paper (all the marketing was electronic too!)

* we had three handouts – these were the only on-site items printed – 280 sheets total

* there were a few game checkpoint signs produced by the venues – many of the tasks were over the app though

* the session signage for the design Genius Bars were done on plantable seed paper – and the paper was sent home with one of the techs who has a daycare in their home for the kids to plant

* the planning for all the elements was done through email, limited meetings, skype and phone  calls – all limiting carbon footprints as well as meeting notes / agendas etc.

* the post event information will all be via this blog – again, very friendly

* we used old name badge stock not used at previous events, and corn based plastic holders, also leftovers from a previous event (Bonus – most people brought their own lanyards)

* the app, the game and the structure of the meeting taking place in predefined spaces meant also that we had no printed program

So can we have no paper? Probably not – but we can cut it immensely and we urge you to rethink too.


Sustainable SWAG Part 2

We were so fortunate to have so many partners and collaborators who have sustainability as a key tenet of their business.  In addition to Patterson Brands supplying us with water bottles, we also ran a game to engage participants in easy ways to make their events greener and Heidi Thorne generously donated copies of her book (below) to both the on-site camper and the remote camper with the most points at the end of Camp!  This is a great resource for those who continue to seek alternatives.

The term “swag” (an acronym for Souvenirs, Wearables, Awards & Gifts) refers to any promotional product that has a logo, message, tagline or some form of personalization on it, usually with the intent of advertising a business, event, team, person or cause.

Swag is generally easy to buy. And it’s easy to make mistakes when buying. But those mistakes can be costly, not just in terms of dollars, but in terms of your image and brand. So SWAG: How to Choose and Use Promotional Products for Marketing Your Business shows you how to buy it right using the Promo With Purpose concept!

Inside you’ll discover…

* 3 Ways Cheap Promotional Products Can be the Most Expensive

* Why Retail Products Cannot be Decorated

* Why You Don’t Always Need Something Different

* How Non Profits Can Avoid a PR Nightmare

* The Number One Promotional Product Mistake Restaurants Make

* 5 Ways to Ditch Promotional Product Thieves at Tradeshows

* When Ecofriendly Promo Doesn’t Work

* Understanding the Buying Process

* What is Good Artwork for Imprinting?

* How to Imprint QR Codes

* 7 Things You Need to Know When Ordering T-Shirts

* 4 Tips for Handling Rush Orders

* What is the Shelf Life for Swag?

Check it out! Thanks Heidi!

SWAG with Sustainability in Mind

When we first began planning EventCamp Vancouver, Patterson Brands was one of the first companies to say “we are in” and “what do you want?”  We knew that whatever we gave away we wanted it to have a purpose – no swag for the sake of it, no random items desired.  We quickly agreed that having a reusable water bottle was a great thing, and these were ordered up, and not just delivered, but hand-delivered to the guests.  At the end of the event we had just a few left over, and these were taken by Tazneem Fazel and made their way into Christmas shoeboxes! Thank you Patterson Brands!
Water bottle sustainability

All Sustainable!

Patterson Brands is a company which is proud to be based on the West Coast of Canada, and we cannot help but be passionate towards our environment & the astounding natural surroundings in which we live.  It inspires us to consciously do our part in being environmentally conscious.   We strive to produce orders using the ‘100 mile’ rule.  (products which are made, warehoused, decorated and/or delivered within a 100 Mile radius of the final delivery point.)  For the most part, local sourcing puts valuable dollars into the local economy. A B.C. based business helps its business colleagues by using B.C. based warehouses (full of workers) and decorators and courier companies.  Of course, much of todays manufacturing is being done off-shore (mostly Asia), therefore we may not be able to complete the entire process locally, however we try to keep as much of the value-add labour and dollars close to home.

If a customer comes to us with a product idea, we will always try and source an eco friendly/recycled verion of the product if available (ie. reusable shopping bag made from recycled product versus one which is not).    We utilize local eco-friendly courier service Novex for local delivery to help lessen the carbon imprint. Patterson Brands also works with numerous suppliers who are constantly updating their environmentally responsible products.  We are a member of PPPC (Promotional Product Professionals of Canada) and staff frequent Promotional Product trade shows, as well as subscribe to other promotional industry based information to keep current on promotional product trends including environmentally sound products.  We then in turn educate our customers on eco friendly products available to them.  When offering products to our customers, Patterson highly recommends using B.C. based suppliers where possible to help reduce shipping distances & waste which may effect the environment.
Patterson team members practice our company values with every order we process:
Accountability : we take responsibility for our actions and their effect on our customers & fellow team members
Community & Environment : to do our best to provide an eco friendly product to our customer which is locally sourced, & delivered by eco friendly means whenever possible
Customer service:  to provide each customer with unprecedented personal & professional service in an efficient & respectful manner
Integrity:  To act with honesty and integrity without compromising the truth
Quality:  we are committed to ensure our customers receive the best quality item within their allotted budget

Some Great Links on Event Design

Thank you to the following Bloggers, Collaborators and Campers who have shared their own thoughts on meeting design, sustainability and Event Camp Vancouver – the insights shared are inspiring.

Corinne Kessel of Greenscape Design and Decor

Andrea Driessen of No More Boring Meetings on what Angry Birds can teach us about Event Design

Judy Kucharuk looks at Committee Dynamics – and building, inspiring and feeding the people you involve

A post by Thom Singer that resonated enough with #ECV11 participants they retweeted it with this hashtag… what do you think?

There is a good chance you will like all of these and we welcome more.


1715 Acts of Green! Wow!

By Judy Kucharuk & Shawna McKinley

Thank you to EventCamp Vancouver participants who Got Their Green On! A more detailed report of the Get Your Green On Game design and outcomes will be shared soon, but in the meantime: the results! Drum roll please!!

Total acts of green: 1715

Total game players: 78 (67 at event site, 11 virtual)

Top-scorers – Virtual:

  1. Jill Drury
  2. Nancy Zavada
  3. Wendi Haughty

Top scorers – Event site:

  1. Kelly Clarke
  2. Paul Salinger
  3. Jo-Anne Rockwood

Some cool facts about the game, along with Camper photos from our Gallery:

  • By reaching for reusable drink containers game players conserved 169 liters or 46 gallons of water – enough to fill 338 of the bottles provided by Patterson Brands!
  • 52 game players brought their own lanyards to camp. That’s about a 60% lanyard reuse rate!

Here is my reused lanyard, which is also made from cornstarch and is biodegradable

No lanyard....using my necklace

  • All onsite attendees received 4-minute shower timers for the game challenge and 76 showers fewer than 4 minutes were recorded (give or take a few who may have been really hard core and not showered at all, or showered with a buddy!).
  • 120 fair trade coffees and teas and 95 vegetarian or vegan meals were recorded. That’s an estimated 15% veggiesaurs at each meal during the event.
  • Many EventCamp participants opted to take transit, carpool, walk or bike to their event site or remote pod, eliminating 178 single-vehicle trips.

And a big shout out to remote attendees. By participating remotely you avoided enough carbon dioxide emissions to fill 110,000 party balloons! Your remote footprint was about 7kg of CO2 per person, compared to the 1,100 kg of CO2 that would have been emitted by coming in person.

We had Campers join us virtually!

Andrew Walker joining us from the UK!

Acts of Green also resulted in $1500 raised for the BC Cancer Foundation. Thank so much to MeetGreen and Paul Salinger for their challenge donations!

Huge thanks to all collaborators who assisted with the Get Your Green On Game: Quickmobile, Westin Bayshore, Vancouver Convention Centre, Greenscape Design and Bell.

Fair Trade for Events: Why it Matters

Jenise Fryatt, Icon Presentations

What is Fair Trade and why does it matter to event planners? Shawna McKinley of MeetGreen and Judy Kucharuk of Footprint Management Systems will join forces  with Rich Patterson of Patterson Brands to answer those questions and more in a session at Event Camp Vancouver. The conference for event professionals interested in innovation and collaboration will take place Nov. 4-6.

On line and off, Shawna McKinley and Judy Kucharuk have worked to raise awareness about event sustainability. The two are both well known in the Canadian event industry, active members of the Green Meetings Industry Council and both blog prolifically on the subject.

As the Director of Sustainability for MeetGreen, Shawna oversees all of the programs the company offers that help event professionals to be more environmentally and socially responsible. Judy is the owner of Footprint Management Systems Inc.(FMS), a company which specializes in planning Green Meetings and Events.

Recently, Judy agreed to answer a few questions about Fair Trade and her upcoming session at Event Camp Vancouver

What is fair trade and what does it have to do with planning events?

Definition from Fairtrade is an alternative approach to conventional trade and is based on a partnership between producers and consumers. Fair trade offers producers abetter deal and improved terms of trade, allowing them the opportunity toimprove their lives and plan for their future. When a product carries the FAIRTRADE Mark, it means the producers and traders have Fair trade standards. Those standards include: Ensuring that the producers receive prices that cover their average costs of sustainable production; provide an additionalFair trade premium which can be invested in projects that enhance social, economicand environmental development; enable pre-financing for producers who requireit; facilitate long term trading partnerships and enable greater producer control over the trading process; and set clean minimum and progressive criteria to ensure that the conditions of production and trade of all Fairtrade certified products are socially, economically fair and environmentally responsible.

When planning an event, it is important to integrate social responsibility into purchasing and carefully select any goods which have been produced in a Fairtrade partnership. You are asking the questions about how the product was made,and how the producers have benefited. It is important to look for third party accredited certifications which involve an independent observer.

Shawna has a prezi online which has some great information. The link is here:

There is an interesting link here as well:
Fair Trade link:

Is fair trade sourcing being requested by more clients or is it more often something the planner tries to persuade clients to do?

In my case, it has been me that has tried to persuade the client to source fair trade. It is something that my clients aren’t really thinking about until I bring it to their attention.

What are the advantages of using fair trade sources for the event?

Helps me sleep at night? LOL

By using fair trade sources it not only supports and sustains workers and families in the countries of origin, it also gives the event a lifecycle. Sure,the planners’ choices affected the 300 atttendees over the three day event, but their decisions impacted others long term. Every decision has a consequence and by choosing Fair Trade, you are recognizing that.

What do you hope participants will take away from your session?

A better understanding of Fair Trade and the certifications; knowing what questions to ask and better realizing the impact of those decisions.

This session will take place on Friday afternoon at Event Camp – we hope to see you there!

Sense and Sustainability – Let the Games Begin!

Shawna McKinley, MeetGreen

Brace yourselves: Event Camp Vancouver is not a ‘green’ event. But we are working hard to ensure sustainability is a prominent theme of Event Camp. How?

First, by making sure it’s an experience designed by you, for you, planned in a way that is sensitive to our common desire to want to do better, in all facets of our life including our professions.

Secondly, we are proud of the setting for our event. The city of Vancouver happens to be one of the most livable cities on the planet, challenging itself to become the greenest city in the world by 2020. We are home to world-leading environmental advocacy groups like the David Suzuki Foundation and Greenpeace. The Vancouver Convention Centre is the first in the globe to be LEED® certified Platinum. Our host hotel, the Westin Bayshore, provides environmentally responsible guest rooms and meeting services, including an event impact report card that we look forward to sharing after Event Camp.

We care about sustainability here. A lot. Ask each of our event collaborators and they will tell you sustainability is about who they are. It’s a personal value, a daily business mantra, a non-negotiable expectation. But don’t take our word for it. Look around you while you’re here. Listen. Learn. Take photos! Share what collaborators and attendees have to offer about sustainability through the Get Your Green On Game and Gallery.

The Vancouver host committee is proud to be setting a stage for conversations that include sustainability not only for our in-person attendees, but those who will be joining us as carbon-sensitive virtual attendees. In fact, we estimate for every 100 participants who join us virtually we expand our reach and avoid 38 metric tons of emissions! We think it is a pretty noble decision to attend online, and because of that virtual attendees should make sure to also check out our Game. You can play along with in-person attendees and we have special points and prizes just for you.

We don’t assume to meet a particular green event standard here at Event Camp. We also acknowledge we’re not perfect and want to use this event to learn and continue to improve. We trust you’ll let us know how we’re doing.

We’ve experienced that sustainability can seem more burden than benefit sometimes. So we want to get back to basics at Event Camp Vancouver. Remind ourselves sustainability is about being diligent about planning decisions while also having fun and inspiring attendees. Our goal is to be solutionary. We want to innovate at the nexus of technology and meetings in the service of sustainability – by doing better by each other. We’re excited to have you join us in this adventure!

Fresh Food


Getting here, Greener

The host committee for Event Camp has integrated sustainability into many decisions made for this event. Our goal? To enable you to act on your values by choosing how to participate. Sustainability is not a law or a rule. It is your choice and option, so think about how you want to engage while you attend. Virtual participants have a very small footprint, and Vancouver registrants can reduce their impact too.

  • Before leaving home unplug appliances, turn off the lights and adjust the thermostat to save energy. Patterson Brands is kindly providing water bottles onsite, so you don’t need to pack one, unless you can’t do without your favourite one.
  • If you’re flying pack light, use paperless check-in, choose direct flights and minimize stopovers. Did you know that by packing even one pound less you save carbon? So leave that ‘maybe’ pair of shoes at home if you can.
  • Once in Vancouver enjoy the quick and easy Canada Line Skytrain trip downtown. It’s a two zone fare with helpful attendees available at the airport to assist if you have questions. Live like a local and take advantage of Vancouver’s transit system while you’re here. It’s safe, easy-to- use, affordable and gets you virtually anywhere.
  • We encourage you to be responsible for emissions you can’t avoid by purchasing a carbon offset. You may be able to purchase an offset through your airline directly when you reserve your flight. You can also buy an offset separately. Although we encourage you to choose a provider that suits you, Offsetters is an organization based in Vancouver that will ensure your contribution goes to projects within British Columbia. They also have a simple offset calculator on their web site.
  • Once at the Westin Bayshore you can take advantage of their Make a Green Choice program at check-in, which helps save water, energy and reduce pollution.

Get Your Green On Game

When you were a kid, camp was really about having fun and playing games. In keeping with that spirit Event Camp Vancouver is excited to offer a Get Your Green On Game to bust the myth sustainability is as dry as granola and tough as a burlap sack. Part scavenger hunt, part competitive challenge, and part green geekery, Get Your Green On lets you earn points for taking simple green actions during Event Camp. Act, score and win. It’s that simple! We’re challenging attendees to earn high individual scores of course (and yes there are prizes!), but we also want to achieve a goal of 1000 acts of green by all participants – virtual and in-person – before event close. Check out the tab in the Quickmobile event application to start playing and Get Your Green On!

Sustainable Event Campfire Stories

Although most Event Camp attendees are used to dealing with best practice checklists as planners and suppliers of sustainable events, at Event Camp we thought it was more appropriate to share our best practices as campfire sustainability stories. If you’re Getting Your Green On and spot a sustainability story in the making – here in Vancouver or virtually – snap a photo and share it in the Quickmobile Gallery. You can get points for spotting random acts of green!

Westin Make a Green Choice Program

  • Don’t think your individual green guest room actions make a difference? Hanging up your towels for one night can conserve 49 gallons of water. That’s 787 cups of water, or 2 cups for one person every day for a whole year. The Westin Bayshore gives you the choice to reduce your footprint by taking part in this unique Starwood program. Ask for it at check-in.

Sustainable Food & Beverage

  • Get Your Green On by going on a sustainable food scavenger hunt at Event Camp. Spot a good example of ‘green’ food and beverage? Maybe an attendee refilling their coffee, eating a vegetarian meal or performing a random act of compost? Snap a photo and upload it to the Gallery for game points.
  • Our meals at the Vancouver Convention Center are made from scratch and use minimally packaged, regionally purveyed ingredients. That may not sound like a big deal, but in an era when meeting venue food is traveling many miles, arriving processed and pre-packaged that’s an important way to keep food fresh, nutritious, affordable and sustainable. The VCC also uses fairly-traded products, including fair trade, shade grown, organic coffee, tea, chocolate, and cocoa.
  • During Event Camp take time to check out Vancouver’s great restaurants. To get leads on local sustainable fare check out the Green Table Network , or ask your hotel concierge. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for the Vancouver Aquarium’s Oceanwise program to give you confidence you’re ordering sustainable seafood. Event Camp collaborator Culinary Capers is actually a founding partner of the Oceanwise program!

Room for Thought

  • All of the wood products used by Greenscape Décor in the Room for Thought have been reclaimed locally in keeping with their Green Mandate. The troughs used are movie props salvaged from film clients. Everything has been reused and will be used again as it makes its way back into the rental inventory. They are bringing the outside in, without adversely affecting the environment.   Full Bloom will enhance the environment with sustainably grown florals that add to the experience, positively.

Vancouver’s greener flowers are bloomin’ marvellous – The Globe and Mail