We’re taking a conscious approach to Meaning’s carbon impact

We believe Meaning has a positive impact — it provides a space to learn, share and discuss new ideas to make the world of business better for people and planet. And we love getting people together in a room to feel that sense of shared hope and possibility, to learn from each other, encourage each other and create valuable new connections.

But we also know that events like ours can have a negative impact on resources, waste and energy consumption. There’s an awful lot of bad practice out there in conference land! That’s why, for Meaning 2016, we’re working with Brighton consultancy Creative Bloom to make smarter decisions about the environmental impact of the conference.

We hope that by doing what we’re doing, and talking about it, we’ll inspire other event organisers to think more carefully about their own carbon impact.

So here’s the plan…

1. Managing the things we can control

  • We’re making positive decisions when we source things like paper, printed items and food.
  • We’re tat-free. You won’t get a goody-bag at Meaning. And we won’t bombard you with disposable items to take home for your bin.
  • Re-use of materials. We’ve deliberately avoided including time sensitive info on banners and stage sets so these can be re-used each year.
  • Coffee tastes better in a proper cup. We’re using real crockery and cutlery — no rustic coffee stirrers or single-use plastic at Meaning.
  • Feeding bellies not bins. Our brilliant caterers, The Secret Restaurant, have strong environmental policies on issues like waste and energy. They’ll be cooking us a tasty, vegetarian lunch of seasonal food that’s been sourced locally where possible. And any left-over food will be donated to the Real Junk Food Project charity.

2. Influencing decisions on what we can’t control

  • Meaning, the case study. We’re proud to be working closely with our venue The Brighton Dome & Corn Exchange to act as a case study for their work towards an event sustainability accreditation.
  • Pause before printing. We’re encouraging the organisations running workshops and breakout sessions at Meaning to avoid printed materials and hand-outs.
  • Planning low-impact journeys. We want to encourage people to plan their journeys to Meaning thoughtfully. And are providing info on car sharing services and public transport options.
  • Enjoying the best of Brighton. We’ll be recommending some of the best cafes, restaurants and places to stay. We won’t recommend them if their sustainability doesn’t measure up.

3. Measuring our impact

We’ll be asking Meaning participants to share with us how they traveled to the event and where from. This data will help us measure our environmental impact, so we can improve our sustainability for next year, and beyond. This is where Creative Bloom come into their own. They know how to do this sort of thing so it’ll be over to them for the tricky maths bit.

4. Offsetting

After the event we’ll be exploring options to contribute to a carbon offset scheme to compensate for the impact we didn’t manage to avoid.

What about you?

We probably can’t achieve a carbon neutral result at Meaning this year but as Pam Warhurst taught us in her Meaning 2012 talk — there’s power in small actions.

Creative Bloom have a really useful checklist to ensure you start asking the right questions when planning your next meeting or company event. All you need to do is start small and keep going.


Meaning is the annual gathering for people who believe business can and must be a force for positive change in our dynamic and volatile world.

At Meaning you’ll learn from the pioneers from the edges, who are driving change at the heart of business. And you’ll connect with like-minded peers who want to be part of the solution.

It’s happening on 17 November in Brighton, UK. Find out more via our website. Or follow us on Twitter.

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