Monday, October 31, 2011

Eight of Nine Standards Passed!

This just in from Amy Spatrisano, APEX/ASTM Sustainable Meetings Standards Panel Chair:

Today, October 31st, marks the 4th year anniversary of our first formal meeting to begin developing the standards. When the news came today that 8 out the 9 standards had passed, it took awhile before it sunk in that we were nearly finished. Note: Accommodations is still in the balloting process.

They have been molded by the feedback received over the four year process by industry, non-industry and government input. While we anticipate there will be some modifications and adjustments made to them once they’ve been tested in the market place ,they represent a milestone, more prescriptive pathway for deeper engagement by the industry to produce sustainable events. They are unprecedented because they are the first standard released in the industry to hold both the planner and supplier mutually accountable for their participation in delivering an event.

I encourage you to visit the Convention Industry Council’s website for updates about how to access them. While you’re there please take a moment to read the list of volunteers who’s passion, commitment and dedication forged these standards for us all. They are the unsung heroes.


Friday, October 28, 2011

The Net Impact of Net Impact

The Net Impact Conference we are managing in Portland, Oregon this week is convening over 2,600 individuals to "explore using their business skills to make environmental and social change through work," according to Jess Sand the article, "How to Bring a Sense of Place to the Convention Center."

The content is fascinating as real solutions for everyday challenges are discussed. Check out this article for a few amazing examples including how GO Box is working to eliminate the 60,000 disposable food containers tossed out by Portland lunch-goers each month. Yes, we love our food carts here in Portlandia!

MeetGreen is incredibly proud to work with Net Impact on this vital conference!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No Child Left Behind

During my presentation at the Meetings Focus Live Event earlier this week, I asked participants to share their organization's CSR projects so we could all learn from each other.

A woman, representing a hotel chain in Mexico, stood up and described a variety of projects they are involved in which give back to their community including a local orphanage they support with food donations. We all applauded, but she wasn't done with her story. She continued by telling us when the children turn 18, they are no longer allowed to live at the orphanage and must make their own way in the world, without families. At that time, the hotel asks these young adults to join their training program and belong to their team.

We were all speechless, teary eyed and motivated to return to our own communities and dig a little deeper.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Green Drive Saves Hilton $74 M in Two Years

Today's headline from Environmental Leader says it all. If you read the article you find the data to back up this claim. Here's the story in financial and environmental savings:

LightStay, the sustainability measurement system used by Hilton Worldwide and its portfolio of 10 hotel brands, has saved the company more than $74 million since its launch in 2009.

To date, Hilton Worldwide’s efforts are equivalent to the removal of more than 50,000 cars from the road, water savings that could fill more than 1,000 swimming pools and energy conservation that could provide power to nearly 20,000 homes a year, the company says.

Saving Green By Going Green is a vital business strategy for meeting and event industry suppliers and planners alike. Thanks to Hilton for sharing these statistics and further dispelling the myth that green practices cost more!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Check All That Apply

Which charitable deed(s) are organizations incorporating during upcoming meetings?

We know that "giving back" has become more important during the past year. Now, a recent Meetings & Conventions Research Survey helps uncover the specific activities organizations are including:

48% Fund-raising/benefit event
48% Volunteer work
45% Food donation
40% Team-building activity to benefit others
40% Donation made from an event's proceeds
32% Silent auction to benefit a charity
25% Donation made by host property/vendors
18% None of the above
If you haven't done so already, is there one on this list you can add to your next meeting?

Source: June, 2011 Meetings & Conventions Magazine article, "Meetings Give Back."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Future Is Here. Are You Paying Attention?

Consider this. If everyone in the United States who could work from home (about 40 percent of the work force) did so half of the time, the annual results would be as follows:

  • $200 billion productivity gains by American companies
  • $190 billion savings from reduced real estate expenses, electricity bills, absenteeism, and employee turnover
  • 100 hours per person not spent commuting
  • 50 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions cut
  • 276 million barrels of oil saved, or roughly 32% of oil imports from the Middle East
  • 1,500 lives not lost in car accidents
  • $700 billion total estimated savings to American Businesses
Given this data, is it any wonder virtual and hybrid meetings are also gaining in popularity with hosting organizations? It is important meeting professionals make sure their skills include this sustainable option. Suppliers should update their company's services to make sure they take advantage as well.

This IS "business as usual" and our industry should worry less about researching our economic impact and worry more about being relevant in today's business climate.

Data Source: The Virtual Company, Inc. Magazine, April 2010, research by Telework Research Network.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ever Have This Feeling?

Some days, embedding sustainability
into an organization (or industry)
feels a little like remodeling a 747 jet
during a cross country flight.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chicago, Las Vegas and Florida/Caribbean, Welcome Aboard!

Yes, it is official, the Green Meeting Industry Council is welcoming Chicago, Las Vegas and Florida/Caribbean Chapters today! There are now eight chapters with a host of others finishing up their final details to join us.

What does this mean to you? Well, if you are in one of those three locations, you now have a local community of fellow green meeting planners and vendors be involved with, share stories, and learn together.

What does this mean to me? It verifies environmentally responsible meetings are more important than ever, especially in today's crazy business climate. It also confirms that GMIC is the place to be for thought leaders and innovators in the meetings industry throughout the world.

My personal thanks to the new chapter leaders and members for leading change in your communities and the world. You have made this GMIC Founder very happy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Behind the Scene at Oracle OpenWorld 2011

When I talked about top organization's green meetings earlier this week, I also shared how willing they are to be transparent and offer up their experiences so that we may all learn.

This week's GMIC tour of Oracle OpenWorld is an excellent example of industry leadership. Over 45 members listened and learned as Paul Salinger, Oracle, kicked off the tour of Oracle OpenWorld 2011 for the lucky participants.

Photo of GMIC Tour at Oracle Open World
A stop in the kitchen provides answers on procuring, producing and serving sustainable menus. How can Chef Jeff Hall look so relaxed during the tour when he as 43,000 hungry guests roaming his facility?

Photo of kitchen at Moscone Center during Oracle OpenWorld
And on the back docks, Hector Quiles, Recycling Manager at Moscone Center, talks about how they handle large debris and trade show floor materials for recycling.

Photo of recycling center at Moscone Center during Oracle OpenWorld

Front of house, back of house, no stone left unturned. Questions asked and answered!

Thanks to Shawna McKinley, MeetGreen, for the photos and her participation.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's Green At The Top

Congratulations to the "5 Top Organizations for Green Meetings" recently published in Meetings & Conventions Magazine. These organizations have both set, and raised, the bar for producing green meetings. Their unwavering commitment to sustainability as provided both challenges and opportunities (aka problems and solutions) along the way.

Their willingness to publicly share their stories so others may learn is heartwarming. They have been able to put competition aside for the greater good. Even as I write this, Oracle OpenWorld, in conjunction with GMIC, is hosting a "Back of the House Tour" during their enormous event with an overwhelming response by planners in the Bay Area. The hope is that seeing this green meeting in action will not only provide ideas, but also lessen the anxiety about how it is implemented during the event.

We couldn't be more proud that 3 of the 5 top organizations are our green consulting clients!