Growing cultural awareness about the environment and the attending increase in corporate social responsibility standards have contributed to a niche market for boutique, sustainable businesses. Author Scott Cooney calls the owners of these businesses “ecopreneurs,” and points to event planning as a sector where green opportunities are growing. You will find these green-minded moguls in virtually every marketplace, creating everything from small-scale parties and celebrations to large-scale corporate events.
In Honolulu, Hawaii, a little firm called Mint Events delivers “more fun, less footprint, all aloha.” Owners Laura Ayers and Stacey Levine are both LEED-certified architects with an eye for creativity and a passion for the planet. Designing everything from eco-friendly baby showers to eco-chic corporate events, the duo fuses sustainability with artistry to generate fresh designs with limited impact on the earth.
Meanwhile on another shore, Monique Green is the ecopreneur whose vision inspired Green With Envy Event Planning in Tampa Bay, Fla. She is a scientist with a biology/pre-med background, and her love of the environment and the natural beauty of her home city inspired Green to “find additional ways to save our planet, eat healthy and save money.”
Green leverages the economic advantages that come with sustainable design to create elegant events for clients who are both environmentally and fiscally conscientious.
“Green strategies are extremely essential to our cost saving mission,” Green said. “We offer recycled products from previous events for use in new events – for example: centerpiece vases, table runners or rhinestone wrap for accents. And then for catering options, we work with vendors that allow for gluten free, vegan and organic catering options for our clients who prefer a healthier choice in their food options.”
Eco Caters is another ecopreneurial venture that is raising the bar on green from coast to coast, with a talented team of chefs and industry professionals offering boutique event services in Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington D.C.
According to co-founder Adam Hiner, “I think the whole industry is always innovating and we are in the markets where these innovations are at the cutting edge. It is great to be a part of that.”
Eco Caters’ niche is the preparation of foods handcrafted from naturally and locally grown sources. In order to ensure the superior quality of the food they prepare and serve, the dedicated team at Eco Caters adheres to five criteria when selecting produce, meat and seafood:
- Organic: Everything we buy is organic (pesticide free) and has been raised or grown without the use of hormones or chemicals.
- Fresh: Our products come straight from the farm to your plate, ensuring both freshness and fullness of flavor.
- Local: We source our products from local California farmers to guarantee freshness and to minimize drive time. We make it a priority to visit the farms, to meet the farmers and to see exactly where our products are coming from.
- Seasonal: Because our products come from local farmers, everything we serve is seasonal: This provides the highest quality produce at just the right time of the year.
- Taste: We taste everything raw before we buy it, and again before serving to ensure the most unique flavors and the very best quality. – Online at www.ecocaters.com
In addition to its impeccably green food presentation, Eco Caters also offers full-scale event planning, coordination and design, from weddings to corporate meetings and galas.
“We are always looking to find new and unique ways to serve our clients while minimizing our impact on the environment,” Adam continued. “We are a one-stop shop with our full catering services and event coordination packages.”
In addition to serving organic food at every event, the firm employs strategies to minimize its own environmental impact.
“We minimize waste by composting our food scraps. We have composted over 1,500 gallons of food scraps in the San Diego kitchen alone this past year. That is a lot of waste that would have been tossed in a landfill,” Adam added. “Instead, we made compost with it and used it to fertilize our organic garden where we grow herbs, vegetables and flowers for catering events and tastings.”
Eco Caters’ next goal is to build its own solar-powered facility.
From its Midwest location in Pittsburgh, Pa., In Your Element Events provides sustainable event services to clients across the nation. Founder Christine Taylor DeMao is a Certified Meeting Professional with a background in organizational development and behavior, and credentials from San Francisco State University’s Meeting and Event Planning Program. Her mission is to “find creative and affordable ways to incorporate eco-friendly, sustainable, and socially responsible practices” into the events she fashions. Her business comprehensively addresses sustainability through its commitment to environmental stewardship, social responsibility and ethical business practices.
Industry ecopreneurs nationwide are proving that it is possible to both make green and save green – resulting in a win-win-win for business owners, clients and the planet.
With holiday parties and events in the works, check out these green suggestions from the ladies at Mint Events: