Registration packets, informational pamphlets, and heavy binders with hundreds of pages of data, spreadsheets, and presentations are things of the past. From conference-specific apps to customized emails to social media communications, events are going digital, which means they are becoming more and more eco-friendly.
As reported recently by the Triple Pundit, the meetings and events industry has good reason to continue its focus on sustainability and “going green.” The industry has among its credits some of the largest producers of waste—conventions and trade shows. Second only to construction in terms of waste production, conventions and trade shows produce an estimated 600,000 tons of garbage every year. Add to this each of the 60,000,000 million people worldwide that attend a consumer or industry trade show and produce, on average, 20 pounds of garbage, totaling more than 1 billion pounds annually.
According to the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC)—a nonprofit group dedicated to transforming the global meetings industry through sustainability—green meetings are about “increasing economic and environmental efficiency by minimizing the use of resources and reducing the amount of waste produced from meeting activities.”
According to GMIC, one of the best ways to “green” corporate meetings and events is to use new media and electronic technology to cut down on the use of paper. Conference websites, online registration, email, social media, mobile—in place of mail-in registrations, brochures, handouts, etc.—all serve to make an event more environmentally friendly.
A more all-encompassing view of sustainability has been passed down by the Convention Industry Council through a set of voluntary sustainability standards incorporated into APEX (the Accepted Practices Exchange).
The APEX Standards are a set of nine formal, voluntary standards developed by the meetings, conventions, exhibitions, and events industry. The standards were created in partnership with ASTM International, an ANSI-accredited standards development organization, to provide event planners and suppliers prescriptive, measurable specifications for producing events in a more sustainable manner.
The nine standards cover the full footprint of the industry:
- Communication & Marketing Material
- Food and Beverage
- Meeting Venue
- On-Site Office
Inside of each of the nine standards (sometimes called “sector standards”), eight impact areas are targeted:
- Staff Management and Environmental Policy
- Air Quality
- Community Partners