Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Insider's Perspective on APEX, GRI and ISO 20121

The title could have just as easily read, "The True Confessions of Amy Spatrisano." We offer it here in her own words...

The Global Reporting Initiative Launches the Event Organizers Sector Supplement…say what?

Have you heard the one about, "how many standards does it take for the meeting/event industry to have one they might actually use?" Apparently, the answer is three. At least that’s the number of standards and reporting protocol being released this year. They are:

1. APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards
2. ISO 20121 Event Organizers Management Standard
3. Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Event Organizers Sector Supplement (EOSS).

Let’s not even talk about the names these things have!

Here’s my confession: I’ve been involved in all of those bodies of work. While I believe in the intentions behind the creation of each of them and that they do complement each other, they are not for everyone, at least not all at once. Especially if you’ve never measured or reported your impacts. Each body of work is intended to fill a particular focus.

• The APEX/ASTM standards measure what you must do to make your event sustainable.
• The ISO 20121 standard offers a process to manage your events sustainably.
• The GRI EOSS protocol for reporting on your impacts once the event is complete.

I firmly believe they each have merit and a purpose. Each offers a different aspect of sustainability engagement depending on an organization’s desire and commitment to measuring and reporting. Some may find adopting these standards a bit daunting. Please don’t lose heart. I encourage you to see for yourself which of them may be the most approachable. Know that you are not alone, this is new for all of us.

Shawna McKinley of MeetGreen® wrote a fabulous blog about what to consider if you’re engaging in the GRI EOSS. The questions she asks are sound ones to consider regardless of which of the standards or reporting tools your organizations might be contemplating.

No comments: