@MPIGNY - Spring 2014 - (Page 8)
BY KELLY SCHWARTZ, CMP
ere at the Green
Council (GMIC), we like
to say that we've been
engaged in "green"
since before "green"
was cool! Many of our 500+ members
and partners have been focused on
sustainability in the meeting, events and
conference industry for more than 20
years, and, for some, it's hard to even
think back to a time when sustainability
wasn't a living, breathing part of every
one of their events. But for others, the
task at hand may seem daunting. New
planners might not know where to begin
with their sustainability efforts, and even
experienced planners run into challenges
convincing their stakeholders of the
merits of meeting/event sustainability.
GMIC has identified a multiphase
approach to planning, managing and
evaluating sustainable events that has
proven to be successful for our members.
Planners can take these steps to begin
to build a framework for a single event
or even develop a broader sustainability
policy that can be used for all events.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Step 1: Create a plan (management
system approach) for identifying your
event's sustainability objectives. This
plan should include how you will achieve
@MPIGNY SPRING 2014
your objectives and the key performance
indicators you will use to track the
success of your plan. Identify specific
activities (such as a certain percentage
of waste diversion, percentage of local
or organic meals, etc.), metrics for
tracking, outcomes you want to achieve
for each objective identified and who is
responsible for the end results.
Step 2: Engage internal stakeholders
in supporting your plan. Establish or
create a sustainable meeting policy for
your team/department/meeting. Ideally,
this policy will reflect your internal values
of your company/organization to ensure
that is supported by your event efforts.
Step 3: Engage vendors in supporting
your plan. Ask your current vendors about
cost savings or cost-neutral pricing.
Include language in your request for
proposal process and contracts that
include vendors reporting back to you
with the data you need to track your
performance. The first year can be your
benchmark year to evaluate and grow in
Step 4: Track your performance. Just
as we monitor our event budgets, we need
to monitor and track the performance of
our sustainability action plans. Ensure
accurate post-event reports so you can
build on them for future years and use in
your site selection process.
Step 5: Communicate the results;
celebrate the success. While continuous
improvement is always our goal as
sustainability professionals, be sure to
pause, breathe and share the success of
your action plan with attendees, vendors,
media and the industry. The more you
can quantify your results in human scale
terms (amount of money saved, amount of
trees saved, amount of CO 2 kept out of the
atmosphere), the more engaged you and
your stakeholders will be for your plan the
Step 6: Be innovative and have fun!
This step may not technically be on the
environmental management action plan;
however, it is important for us as meeting
professionals to enjoy what we are doing.
Our goal is create rewarding experiences
for our attendees. So if it is aligned with
your organization - be creative and
include a yoga break, human-powered
energy stations or networking events
that have purpose in a local community.
Remember to allow for some outdoor
or nonscheduled activity time. Your
attendees will appreciate your efforts to
take care of their sustainable needs.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of @MPIGNY - Spring 2014
Ask the Board
Speaking the Language of Sustainability
11 Delivering the ‘green’ at AIBTM 2014
IMEX America’s Sustainability Efforts: Greenhouses, Gardens and Growing Commitments
A CSR Preview of MPI’S WEC 2014
Greening Trends: Meeting Planners ‘go Local’ to Drive Down Costs
Sustainability at Caneel Bay Resort
Let’s Get Physical: Team Building for the Active Attendee
Mpigny’s Engaging Evening
Notes From the Field
Asheville CVB Injects Unique Destination Flare Into Meetings
History Comes Alive in Boston
@MPIGNY - Spring 2014