Whether you’re an experienced green entrepreneur or you’re just starting down the path to starting a green business or greening an existing one, green conferences can be a fantastic way to network with other green entrepreneurs, learn about the latest green business techniques, technologies, and regulations, and see live demonstrations and samples of products and services that could help your business… or compete with it.
With many different green conferences to choose from, how can you decide which are most important for your business to attend? Choosing wisely will not only save your business time and money, it will also reflect your commitment to green principles. Although green conferences usually take a variety of steps to minimize their environmental impact as much as possible, a no impact conference remains a goal to be striven for, not an achievement that has been reached, and the environmental impact of transportation to and from the conference can also be significant.
When deciding which green conferences to attend, here are a few factors to consider:
- Location. The closer the conference is to your offices, the lower the environmental impact of transporting representatives, displays, and other people or objects to and from the conference. As appealing as some exotic locales may be, the environmental impact of traveling to them may not be worth the benefits of attending, unless there are other factors that make the conference a good fit for your green business. For example, depending on your industry, it may be very important to know what’s going on in your local region, or it may be more important to know what’s happening nationally or internationally.
- Niche. As the green industry has grown, so has the number of niche green conferences available. Depending on the industry you’re in and the goals you set for conference participation, you may find it beneficial to focus on general green conferences, or on industry-specific ones.
- Size. Major green conferences can be a great way to network with industry big shots, but they can also be a way to get lost in the crowd. Smaller, niche conferences, on the other hand, can be a good way to get noticed by potential clients in specific industries, but may not get you the mainstream exposure you want. Again, deciding on a set of goals and purposes for conference participation in advance can be a tremendous help when choosing which conferences are the best uses of time and money to benefit your business.
Whatever your goals for conference participation, you are sure to find a green conference that meets your needs in the following list:
General Green Conferences
Organized by Bioneers, a nonprofit organization that promotes social and environmental innovation inspired by nature, the annual Bioneers Conference is a cutting edge forum for innovators working to create a greener and more equitable world. In addition to the main conference, which will be held October 14-16, 2011 in San Rafael, California, Bioneers hosts a number of satellite conferences around the United States, and an international Bioneers conference that will be held June 29-July 1 in Amsterdam, Holland.
Organized by Fortune, Brainstorm GREEN is a leading green conference bringing together thought and business leaders from industry, government, and the nonprofit sector to network and discuss innovations in the green economy. The 2011 conference was held April 4-6 in Laguna Niguel, California.
Organized by the Wall Street Journal, ECO:Nomics is an executive business conference that brings together CEOs, experts, policy makers, and other thought leaders to discuss the future of business and the environment. The 2011 conference was held March 2-4 in Santa Barbara, California.
The Go Green Conferences are one day events that are a great opportunity for existing business owners and would be entrepreneurs to get a crash course in the latest sustainable innovations for green businesses from leading experts. Held several times annually in different cities around the US, the 2011 events include Portland, Oregon on October 4th and Phoenix, Arizona on November 15th.
The GoingGreen conferences, “where green entrepreneurs take on big business,” are organized bi-annually by AlwaysOn. These executive conferences offer great networking opportunities for green entrepreneurs, as well as panels, debates, and speakers discussing the most promising green innovations and opportunities. The 2011 GoingGreen East conference was held March 8-10 and the GoingGreen Silicon Valley conference will be held October 1 in San Francisco.
Good and Green is a two day conference organized by Good Housekeeping and The Daily Green with speakers, roundtables, case studies and more focusing on effective green marketing strategies! The 2011 Good and Green conference will be held May 11-12 in New York City.
Good Jobs, Green Jobs is an annual conference bringing together thousands of labor, environmental, business, elected and community leaders to discuss ideas and strategies to build a green economy and preserve America’s economic and environmental security. The 2011 Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference was held February 8-10 in Washington, DC.
Hosted by Green America, the Green Festivals are held several times annually in cities around the United States. Dates and locations for 2011 include May 14-15 in Chicago, May 21-22 in Seattle, October 1-2 in New York, October 29-30 in Los Angeles, and November 12-13 in San Francisco. Intended for the general public, the Green Festivals have attracted more than 1 million attendees to 32 festivals over the last ten years and are a great opportunity to market to consumers and fellow business owners alike. The Green Festivals also offer free green business seminars focusing on financing, marketing, partnering, and networking to business owners and entrepreneurs.
Organized by the Center for Global Leadership in Sustainability in the School of Business Administration at Portland State University, the annual International Conference on Business & Sustainability features forums combining the best of business and academia to explore solutions for sustainability in today’s business environment. The 2011 conference will be held November 3-4 in Portland, Oregon.
The International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability is held annually in different locations around the world. The 2012 conference will be held January 10-12 in Vancouver, British Columbia. The conference focuses on a multidisciplinary approach to sustainability. Interested participants are given the opportunity to submit papers for publication in The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability.
LOHAS stands for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability and the annual LOHAS forum is a gathering of more than 500 business executives coming together to network, discuss marketing trends, and more. The 2011 LOHAS Forum will be held June 22-24 in Boulder, Colorado.
Organized by the National Council for Science and the Environment, the National Conference on Science, Policy, and the Environment is an annual conference that brings together policy makers, business leaders, nonprofits, and more to explore the connections between science and decision-making regarding a particular policy issue. The 2011 conference was held January 19-21 in Washington, DC and focused on “Our Changing Oceans.”
Opportunity Green is an annual B2B green business conference that brings together executives from leading green brands and unknown startups alike to discuss the innovations and strategies driving today’s green economy. Opportunity Green 2011 will be held November 10-11 in Los Angeles, California.
Sustainable Brands is an annual conference organized by Sustainable Life Media that focuses on how brands can help create a more sustainable future through innovation and market strategies that provide shared economic, environmental, and social value. The 2011 conference will be held June 7-10 in Monterey, California.
TED conferences are now well known for the extraordinary mix of thought leaders they attract from the fields of technology, entertainment, and design, but attendance is by invitation only, limiting their benefits to lesser known green start ups. On the other hand, TEDx events are community organized and offer much more open attendance. Many TEDx events are organized around particular themes or industries, including green issues. For example, the 2011 TEDxManhattan event focused on sustainable food issues.
West Coast Green is a leading green conference and expo focusing on green innovation and design for the built environment: buildings, infrastructure, transportation, energy, and water. The 2011 conference will be held September 28-30 in San Francisco, California.
The World Social Forum is an annual event for nonprofits and other organizations working for positive social change to come together, network, and share ideas. The 2011 World Social Forum was held in Dakar, Senegal on February 6-11.
Green Building Conferences
Organized by the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance, the Excellence in Building Conference and Expo is an opportunity for the green building industry to network, learn about new innovations and regulations, and share design innovations. The 2011 conference will be held September 14-16 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Organized by the US Green Building Council, Greenbuild is one of the largest green building conferences in the world. In 2011, it will be held outside the US for the first time, on October 4-7 in Toronto, Ontario. In addition to speakers, workshops, and other events, Greenbuild hosts a huge expo devoted to green building.
The National Green Building Conference and Expo is hosted by the National Association of Home Builders and the 2011 conference will be held May 1-3 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The conference will include a tour of green homes, breakout sessions for builders, architects, and many other green building professionals, an exhibition, and more.
Renewable Energy Conferences
Running annually for 40 years, the National Solar Conference brings together solar experts of all types to network and learn about the latest innovations in the solar industry. Many sessions offer continuing education credits for architects, engineers, and other professionals. The 2011 National Solar Conference will be held May 17-21 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Renewable Energy Markets is an annual conference focusing on the renewable energy sector. The 2011 conference will be held November 15-18 in San Francisco, California.
Thousands of attendees and hundreds of exhibitors attend this large annual renewable energy conference, which features technical sessions on renewable energy sources including wind, solar, biomass, hydro, geothermal, ocean/tidal/wave, bio-power, bio-fuels and hydrogen. The 2012 conference will be held February 14-16 in Long Beach, California.
Solar Power International is a B2B green conference focusing on the solar power industry, including manufacturers, installers, utilities, policy makers, and more. The 2011 conference will be held October 17-20 in Dallas, Texas.
Organized by the American Wind Energy Association, WindPower is an annual conference bringing together wind industry professionals to learn about wind issues, technology, and policy, network with industry leaders, and generate business leads. The 2011 conference and exhibition will be held May 22-25 in Anaheim, California.
The World Renewable Energy Congress is an annual gathering of scientists, engineers, and other professionals to discuss a wide range of topics related to renewable energy technology, energy efficiency, climate change and sustainable energy systems. The 2011 congress will be held May 8-13 in Linköping, Sweden.
Organized by the World Wind Energy Association, the 2011 World Wind Energy Conference and Renewable Energy Exhibition will be held October 31-November 2 in Cairo, Egypt. In addition to wind energy, the conference will include discussion of other renewable technologies, including solar and biofuels.
Did we miss your green conference? Please comment below or contact us to let us know!
Main image credit: officenow