Sure there are challenges, but there are plenty of opportunities, too.
sustainability strategy may present some challenges for event industry –
including venues, organizers and corporate planners – they are far
outweighed by opportunities in the form of reduced costs and potential
Why should you care
about sustainability? The answer is simple: Because your CEO cares; your
investors care; your customers care; and the government/regulators
Perhaps the biggest
barrier preventing venues and planners from moving toward sustainability
is the lack of understanding on how to get started. Luckily, principals
in the events industry can follow standards set by the
(GMIC), published as an
standard. Visit the site and search “sustainable events”. ASTM defines
nine elements of the supply chain (destination/visitor’s bureau, venue,
food & beverage, transportation, accommodation, A/V company, staging and
booth construct, communications & marketing and the on-site sales
office). The supply chain must demonstrate commitment to sustainability
in eight areas such as waste management, energy and water conservation
and air quality. The ASTM standard defines the considerations for
selection in the event supply chain by environmentally conscious event
are available on the GMIC site for planners to use as insertions into
RFPs for their events. This is perhaps the quickest way for a planner to
get started in sustainability.
A second opportunity
lies with the International Standards Organization (ISO) and its
Event Sustainability Management System. This standard, “…has been
designed to address the management of improved sustainability throughout
the entire event management cycle,” according to ISO.
Another option is to
participate in a “Sustainable
Meeting Planner Program”.
This program combines ISO 20121 and the ASTM standards for events.
When all is said and
done, and you want to report on your event, consider that
has developed a simplified entry-level
using Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) model as its basis. The template
identifies the recommended standards for each segment of the industry,
and also includes the 10 indicators that appear as a “top priority” for
venues, organizers and planners that UFI recommends the exhibition
industry report at a minimum.
The benefits of a
sustainability strategy based on international standards and guidelines
are myriad, including reduced costs in the form of efficiency, waste
reduction, productivity gains, risk mitigation and higher employee
retention. Venues, organizers and corporate planners can also grow their
status in the marketplace through enhanced reputation; ability to
differentiate their offers; and better respond to customer requests and
first to achieve ASTM standards compliance, the Colorado Convention
Center (CCC) in 2012 successfully completed Level One certification to
the ASTM Standard for the Evaluation and Selection of Venues for
Environmentally Sustainable Meetings, Events, Trade Shows, and
Conferences. The CCC recently achieved Level Two certification. Other
Level One certifications have been achieved by McCormick Place in
Chicago, Orange County Convention Center and the Hong Kong Convention
and Exhibition Centre, among others.
The events industry
must decide its sustainability commitment. I urge you to be a part of