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News & Press: GMIC Global News

GMIC February Webinar News Capsule

Friday, February 17, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tamara Kennedy-Hill
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GMIC News Capsule Summary from February 14, 2012 Webinar on Standards

New green meeting standards mark industry growth

The milestone arrival of three new sets of sustainable meeting standards proves the momentum and growth of the green meetings industry. In a Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) webinar on February 14, Mariela McIlwraith, president of Meeting Change, moderated a panel discussion with three experts who described three emerging sets of green meeting standards.

The new standards, which focus on the topics of product, process, and reporting, cement green meeting legitimacy, said Lawrence Leonard, Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) director of the Convention Industry Council, who noted that standards move sustainable meeting practices away from "things that are nice to do” "to things that are quantifiable and supportable by found science.”

APEX teamed up with the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) to produce the APEX/ASTM Green Meeting and Events Standards, which address nine key environmental footprints of meetings and events.

The APEX/ASTM standards are prescriptive and provide meeting planners with key performance indicators (KPIs) to guide green meetings. The standards will be available online through ASTM in the next few weeks.

"They are results-oriented and really focused on KPIs and targets, and not how you accomplish things,” Leonard said.

The process of planning green meetings is best explored through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 20121. This framework for assessing and managing environmental, social, and economic impacts of a meeting will be published in June 2012, said Ginny Stratton, vice-chair of the Canadian Mirror Committee for the ISO 20121.

Elizabeth Henderson, Chief Sustainability Strategist at Meeting Change, shared the recently released Global Reporting Initiative Event Organizer Sector Supplement (GRI EOSS), which sets the standard for reporting sustainable meeting progress. The custom tool for the meetings industry is now available for free download from the GRI website.

While the new green meetings standards can be used effectively on their own, they also work well together. "Think of ISO as your iPhone, think of APEX as the apps you put on your iPhone, and think of GRI as your wireless signal,” Henderson said, referring to a metaphor inspired by incoming GMIC president Michael Luehrs.

APEX focuses on logistics and performance indicators, while ISO breaks down how the work gets done. Finally, "the GRI is how you tell your story,” Henderson said. "It’s your Valentine’s Day card.”

News capsule produced by The Conference Publishers Inc., one of the world's leading onsite content specialists and home of the #eventtable online community.