Convention Industry Council Set to Release Sustainable Meeting Standards
by Eric Wasnick
Sunday, November 06, 2011

CIC will release very first international green standards for events later this month.

Sustainability within the event industry has become all the rage in recent years.  Many new venues and event spaces clamor for a coveted LEED Green certification, considered the proverbial "feather in the cap" for any space promoting its environmental sensibility.  The existence of environmental standards for venues makes perfect sense in an industry that some consider less than environmentally friendly.   

While green venues are great... what about the sustainability of the events themselves? Up until now there has been no complete and established international standards for green events.  Enter the Convention Industry Council (CIC), which in 2007 launched the Accepted Practices Exchange (Apex) initiative to address international standard for green meetings and events.  A team of over 300 event planners and sustainability experts across several continents organized environmental standards in 9 areas including:
•    Audio-Visual
•    Communication & Marketing Materials
•    Destinations
•    Exhibits
•    Food & Beverage
•    Meeting Venue
•    On-Site Office
•    Transportation
•    Accommodations (yet to be ratified)

The Sustainable Meeting Standards by Apex Green Meetings Panel are set to be released later this month once the council approves the 'Accommodations' standards. According to the CIC, completed standards will be available both online and in print. 

What impact (if any) do you think the new standards will have on our industry??  Will it make us more environmentally conscious?


The upcoming release of the international green standards for the meetings and events industry is a huge step forward. Now I am somewhat biased on this, as I served on the Meeting Venue subcommittee of the APEX/ASTM Sustainable Meetings Standards panel.
With the adoption of these standards, there is now a clear and defined approach to sustainability that is required both from the planner and supplier sides of the equation. For too long, many venues were "greenwashing" while claiming to practice sustainable measures.
There was one venue who had a wall painted green with a recycling logo and that was the extent of their recycling efforts. There is now a measurable standard that will hold venues accountable and this is a very good thing.
This first attempt at sustainable event standards is not perfect and will need to be modified and tweaked as we go forward. If we waited for the standards to be perfect, they would never be released. The increased awareness of sustainable issue will help offset the growing pains as we go forward. Hopefully, both planners and suppliers will take these standards to heart and do everything within their power to adopt these standards as part of their normal operations going forward.
--Greg Ruby
I think the new guidelines will absolutely affect the event planning industry. In fact, I predict that in the coming years, "Green Meetings" will dominate the market. All clients will expect a Green Meeting.

Great point Greg!
I think a defined approach to green events will bring new meaning to sustainability in the industry and help limit "greenwashing".
--Eric Wasnick

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