Post-event Summary: Sustainable Purchasing & Communication


On 14 April 2016, MPI Belgium celebrated the first ever Global Meetings Industry Day in the citycenter of Brussels. The day started out with our Meetings Go Green workshop on sustainable purchasing & zero-waste communication. During the afternoon, our focus shifted to the topic of communication on a larger scale.

The information below relates only to the Meetings Go Green workshop held during #GMID16

Event Outline

Prevention is better than cure. Reusable, edible or biodegradable plates and cups, recycled packaging … Our third “Meetings Go Green” workshop explored how to create and implement sustainable purchasing decisions to reduce the negative environmental impact of your events.

The implementation of a greener purchasing programme reduces the burden on the environment, while at the same time benefiting your business by reducing costs. It’s also great CSR, you give attendees “green” products and environmentally conscious businesses.

Click on the links to open the presentation.

Event photos

  • All those who participated in #GMID16 received a personal coupon code to purchase photos. Missed the code? Contact our team to retrieve it.

Interview with Fiona Pelham


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Awareness and communication are key in preventing organic food waste

When we meet, we eat. Our Chapter welcomed almost 40 participants at the”Reducing and sorting food waste” workshop in Brussels on 1 March. This workshop is the second event in our Meetings Go Green programme.


In this article we highlight how to avoid food waste before your event by tackling the issue of no-shows, and what you can do with leftovers.

Raising awareness

It is clear that no-shows are still a major issue in our industry and the first step to undertake is to raise awareness. In 2009, MPI Belgium was one of three initiators of the “Don’t Spoil the Party” initiative together with ACC Belgium and EMA Society. The initiative created a video which highlights the issue of no-shows and food waste, and encourages organizers to use the ”Spoilman”-logo on their invitation.  

Communication is key

Even when pre-registration is required, the number of no-show is still between 10-30% (roughly estimated % of no-shows, based on numbers shared at the workshop). Time to optimise our attendee registration and communication! In your registration form, let people indicate which food functions they will be attending (Welcome coffee, Lunch, Drinks reception) and don’t forget to ask about dietary restrictions.

Before your event, send attendees a personalized reminder about the food functions they signed up for and ask them to inform you if they are no longer able to attend one of the activities. If you’re dealing with a smaller group, why not send out an SMS or What’s App Broadcast campaign.

Make sure your registration system allows attendees to edit their registration information close to the event, and keep reminding attendees about “Don’t spoil the party” throughout your event communications.

During your event, use an online check-in system so you can track how many people are in the venue. Give the latest update to the caterer and don’t forget to mention those with dietary requirements. To keep raising awareness, take and share photos of the organic waste at your event during and after the event.

After the event, analyse who didn’t show up and communicate with them directly. Send them a follow-up message and add them on your (private) “flagged list” so you can get in touch with them next time they register.

Analysing the demographics of your no-shows will give you an idea of who is more likely not to attend; and by looking at historical patterns of how different demographics actually consume at food functions, you can adjust the amount of food being served.


It is clear from the numbers that no-shows increase when an event is free to attend, even when pre-registration is required. MPI Belgium struggled with this, and has implemented a “no-show fine” for free events. By combining a penalty fee and reminding attendees of regularly, numbers of no-shows have dropped exponentially.

Don’t spoil

In our sector it is most likely to always have food waste at the end of the day. So start to think about implementing initiatives such as a ‘doggy bag’ for attendees, and look for your local FSE network and local donation opportunities. To reduce the non-organic waste from your catering, look for initiatives such as edible serving cups.

The MPI Belgium Chapter is currently talking with food surplus entrepreneurs and zero waste initiatives to continue reducing the negative environmental impact of their Chapter events. Join the Global Meetings Industry Day Belgium on 14/04 in Brussels to learn more.

Find out more about Meetings Go Green, and contact VP Education Mieke Barbé with your best practices, favorite initiatives and suppliers. Follow her Pinterest boards on Event Catering and Event Zero-waste & Sustainability for inspiration.
This article was written for the MPI in Europe blog, by our VP Education

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Post-event Summary: Circular Economy (Meetings Go Green)


Our first “Meetings Go Green” workshop briefed participants on the circular economy. We brought best practices to showcase how you can choose eco-designed material while not producing any waste, as well as how to give a second life to your waste while minimizing – or even reducing – costs!

Register for the next workshop (1 March)

This event was hosted by MPI Belgium in cooperation with 21 Solutions and YUZU.

Have a look at photos of the event on our Facebook page.

Summary video



The venue

This workshop was held at Martin’s Brussels EU. The venue is known for its best practices when it comes to ‘being green’, and their commitment to several Environmental Management Systems (EMAS, ISO14001, Eco-dynamic Enterprise label and Green Key).

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No waste and low-carbon events are perfectly possible


MPI Belgium’s Meetings Go Green project and the Brussels Waste Network are featured in the monthly magazine by BECI: Brussel Metropool.

Read the article in Dutch:
Afvalloze en koolstofarme evenementen zijn perfect mogelijk:

Read the article in French:
Les événements dans déchets et faibles en carbone, c’est possible:

Find out more about the workshops being organised in 2015 and 2016.



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Meetings Go Green: Workshop Calendar


MPI Belgium is providing meeting professionals with education on sustainability and waste reduction. Our effort to advocate for reducing the meeting industryb s environmental impact is supported by Bruxelles Environment – Leefmilieu Brussel, in partnership with 21 Solutions and Yuzu Events.

To meet the challenge of sustainability in the meetings industry, MPI organises four workshops to introduce meeting professionals to material and organic waste reduction, smart food management choices, making informed purchasing decisions and revising communication strategies.

Participants can join per workshop, or purchase entry to all four workshops at a preferred rate (50 EUR discount).

Workshop 1: How turn waste into a resource

Workshop 2: Reducing and resorting food waste

Workshop 3: Smart environmental purchasing decisions for events

Workshop 4: Green Guide to Event Communication

Want to know more about Meetings Go Green? Follow MGG on LinkedIn for regular updates, or contact Gemmeke.

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Launch Meetings Go Green


MPI Belgium has taken the opportunity to help meeting and event planners in Belgium to provide them with workshops about how to make informed decisions for greening their events.

Throughout the upcoming year and a half, MPI Belgium is committed to share education, resources and ideas with those who want to find (cheap) ways to make events more sustainable.

Gemmeke, board member of MPI, together with Marcel and Laure from 21Solutions and Damien from Expostant d.
Gemmeke, board member of MPI, together with Marcel and Laure from 21 Solutions and Damien from Expostant D during the projec’s launch at the BE Conference 2015.

MPI Belgium received a grant from Bruxelles Environnement – Leefmilieu Brussel, with the help of BECI (Brussels Enterprises Commerce and Industry), to organise 4 workshops around better waste management in the meetings and events industry. MPI will work with 2 consultant groups – 21 Solutions and Yuzu Events – to develop, create and facilitate the project.

About the project

The project was launched during the 20th anniversary and the annual BE Conference on 24 June. During the day a first enquete was held amongst the meeting professionals. Several interesting findings were discovered:

  • 50% of the people questioned have not yet started with waste management and policies during the events they organise.
  • However 44% think it’s important and also a priority to set up a framework to assist with better waste management during an event.
  • The highest priority seems to be the food waste within the industry for 77% of the professionals questioned.
  • It’s a fact most of the ‘left overs’ of food at an event end up in the bin as no other measures are taken.

MPI with 21 Solutions and Exposant D is really looking forward to developing new concrete actions to assist members of MPI and other meeting professionals to improve their eco-management of events. It will be an interesting challenge to change the mentality and the way of working.

Planned activities

The project will be spread over 2015 and 2016 and will bring you 4 workshops with different themes (e.g. management of waste, re-using material of an event, reduction of food waste, potential of the sharing economy in the events and meetings sector, etc.) and the development of a practical guide for smart and good management of an event.

The Meetings Go Green website will be online soon – in the meantime you can subscribe to receive more information here.

More information

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