and iCompli distributed a recent press release regarding development of certification
of the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards.
The press release announced the opportunity
for certification of suppliers to the level one requirement in the
FAQ will focus on the APEX/ASTM standard yet we wish to underscore that GMIC is
an advocate of all proven tools and practices to advance sustainable practices
for events- This includes support for APEX/ASTM and ISO 20121 as well as GRI, a
global framework for reporting sustainability performance. GMIC has shared
examples for how these tools can be used together.
Read more here on
the historical design and collaborative process of these initiatives).
1) Did GMIC create
a certification program?
GMIC's role is not to create the standard or the certification program, but to
support members in building better organizations and events through advocacy
and the sharing of best practices.
the release of the standards in 2012, GMIC believes a certification process is
a critical factor in speeding their uptake and use.
Our first step was to identify a credible,
independent auditing organization who knows the standards and who demonstrated
a sound process to provide third party certification.
2) What process did
GMIC use to endorse a third party certification, and is it exclusive?
engaged key stakeholders; including subject matter experts, individuals
involved in the standards development process, practitioners and external
stakeholders to establish and review a set of internal criteria on 3rd
party endorsement. GMIC followed internal policies for endorsement. While this
relationship is not exclusive it is based on rigid criteria to ensure credible
market place adoption and usage of the standards.
3) What is the
difference between 1st, 2nd and 3rd party
are the "official definitions” of the key terms from Unites States Conformity
Assessment Principles document published by ANSI (American National Standards
First, Second, and Third Party
The first party is generally the
person or organization that provides the object, such as the supplier.
(GMIC – i.e. the Venue reviews the
requirements and creates a self check list)
The second party is usually a person
or organization that has a user interest in the product, such as the customer.
(GMIC – i.e. a sustainability consultant, subject matter expert that has
provides guidance/advice/training, tec. to others for a fee and/or helping an
entity become certified. Many of the GMIC member community fall into this
The third party is a person or body
that is recognized as being independent of the person or organization that
provides the object, as well as the user or customer of the object.
(GMIC – i.e. iCompli).
4) Ok so what does
Certification is a type of "conformity assessment” – a
demonstration that specified requirements relating to a product, process, or
have been fulfilled.
As it relates to
the ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards, it would be an
assessment that an organization has met the criteria for the relevant standard.
simply means that an independent third party has assured that specified
requirements have been demonstrated.
Accreditation means that the third party has been formally assessed
by a national standards body as to its competence to perform the
What does this mean for the event?
Why certify suppliers first?
a bit of historical background.
standard can operate independently for specific sector requirements as well as
collectively for the entire event.
each sector (i.e. venue, food and beverage, destination) there are planner
requirements and supplier requirements in the categories of policy, staff
management, waste, air quality, water conservation, and procurement and
were designed to be performance standards (specific measureable actions that
suppliers and in some part planners had to do and achieve in order to be in
difference for the APEX/ASTM standards is that the accountability is heavily
weighted on the supplier's ability to consistently achieve environmental
performance metrics before and during an event. The critical touch point is the
mutual accountability of suppliers and planners related to the sustainability
goals of the event.
However in analyzing
the area of control, the suppliers have greater measurable control of the
performance outcomes of the standards than do the planners.
one of certification focuses on verifying that suppliers are in compliance with
Level One of the relevant standard.
does not mean that the event planner has been certified or that the event
itself has been certified.
two will focus on certifying planners and events.
Certification of suppliers allows a planner
or organizer to say that they are using certified suppliers for its event.
Suppliers can say that they have been
certified by an independent third party to be compliance with the relevant
standard for their sector.
6) When will we be
able to fully certify the event experience?
Process for a full verification of events compliance has yet to be determined.
7) How does this
endorsement benefit GMIC members?
third party certification means that suppliers now have a way to credibly
demonstrate engagement in sustainable practices. Event planners can save time
during the RFP process and work toward a more sustainable event by selecting
certified suppliers. Consultants now have an additional business opportunity to
assist suppliers and planners in assessing their sustainability performance vis
a vis the standards, ie, conducting a "gap analysis” and then helping them
close those gaps and achieve certification.
more importantly, we've learned from the initial round of certifications that
the process of getting certified in itself raises the level of
sustainability performance of the suppliers – which is exactly what the
standards were meant to do.
Is there training for planners in how to
use these standards now
Yes, GMIC will provide a full day training on how to use the APEX/ASTM
standards in practice from both a planner and supplier angle on Saturday, April 6, 2013 as a preworkshop
Registration for this course will be live by February 22, 2013.