In 2011, both meeting organizers and industry suppliers will be able to verify their meeting or product’s level of sustainability using the same set of guidelines. Finally, we will all play by the same rules. Yes, it appears the Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX), an initiative of the Convention Industry Council (CIC), is now finalizing the standards for best practices for green events. Really, just a little longer.
"Hurry up and wait" has never been my strong suit. So in preparation for the GMIC webinar last week, I reviewed the draft guidelines from each of the nine sectors to get an idea of what they will most likely include. There are common practices across the sectors you can start incorporating today to be ahead of the game when the standards are released. Here are a few:
- Make sure your meeting or event has a sustainability policy. Ask vendors for their sustainability policy during the request for proposal process. It is an easy way to ensure they are already practicing green meeting initiatives.
- Always ask for recycling at any venue. Confirm the property has it available and can give you measureable data after the event on the amount of waste kept out of the landfill.
- Look for energy and water efficiencies from your venue, caterer, transportation and hotel.
- Before purchasing, ask yourself if you or your attendees really need it. If you do need it, can you buy it in bulk or find it locally? Check to see if it is compostable, recyclable or can be donated. Your caterer should also be asking these questions.
- Measure and document your progress. Choose several guidelines you know your organization can always commit to accomplishing and measure the results for your next event. This will give you a baseline to work from. For example, if you are able to reduce the amount of handouts by half from past events, determine what the savings are in money (cold hard cash), paper (trees, energy and water) and labor. Then build on this initiative during subsequent events. This also makes good business sense and helps present the event’s ROI.
Then once the APEX Standards are launched, get a copy and determine where your initiatives already meet the standards for a sustainable meeting. You WILL be ahead of the game!
If you want more details, check out last week's GMIC webinar http://www.greenmeetings.info/gmicwebinars