What are the sectors of the standards?
Sectors are the 9 areas of meeting management: accommodations, audio/visual , communications, destination selection, exhibits, food/beverage, meeting venue, onsite office and transportation.
How do I “meet the standards”?
There are two parts to this answer. The first starts by choosing any single sector of your meeting or event--say accommodations. You can "meet the Accommodations Standard" in this single sector by having both the planner and supplier score at least at a Level 1.
The second would be for the entire meeting. If you want to claim your meeting "met the Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standard," then you would have to score at least a Level 1 in all the relevant sectors.
Is there a certification available?
Certification is under development in partnership between the Green Meeting Industry Council and the Convention Industry Council (the same body that oversees the Certified Meeting Professional program). The standards must be tested in the market place first to ensure any necessary changes take place before the certification is complete. Tentative launch time for certification is early 2012.
And now the big question we all want to know...How much extra time will this take?
As with any process in the beginning, there will be a learning curve. You will have to integrate the standards within your current practices. Once the integration occurs, the process is intended to be minimal. Again, this will depend on a variety of factors. For example: As a planner if you’re only selecting suppliers that meet the standard, then your time commitment should be minimal. If you don't, you’ll need to negotiate and educate them--taking extra time and energy. Suppliers: integrate the standards as part of how you do business and there won’t be extra time (and increased business I would suspect).
Now, take a deep breath and remember we are on this journey together and this blog is a resource for you. I will post information to minimize the learning curve whenever possible and will be on the lookout for case studies to help us learn from each other. Stay tuned!