@MPIGNY - Spring 2014 - (Page 8)

#feature SPEAKING THE LANGUAGE OF SUSTAINABILITY BY KELLY SCHWARTZ, CMP H ere at the Green Meeting Industry 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. Getting Started 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 8 @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 future years. 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 following year. 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
President’s Message
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
Delta Force
Mpigny’s Engaging Evening
Legal Review
Member Spotlight
Fitness Focus
Notes From the Field
Asheville CVB Injects Unique Destination Flare Into Meetings
History Comes Alive in Boston
New Members
Advertiser’s Index

@MPIGNY - Spring 2014