Groups Vie To Define Green Mtgs.
A pair of meetings industry associations separately are looking to provide a certification and standards for green meetings management.
The Convention Industry Council umbrella group of meetings organizations is working with ASTM International, a standards development organization, to develop industry green standards as part of its long-running Accepted Practices Exchange effort.
Meanwhile, the newly formed Association of Green Meetings and Events has developed a certification process.
One of the stakeholders in CIC's effort is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which approached ASTM to help develop an accredited industry standard.
"CIC and Apex wanted to develop standards that would be widely accepted and because we knew the EPA's interest in creating standards around green meetings and because of their link to ASTM, collectively all the organizations said we should be doing this jointly," said Sue Tinnish, Apex director. She added that Apex has followed the ASTM process when creating previous standards.
"Our process is not going to be that different except there will be a final ratification and a final viewing of the standards through ASTM," she said.
Apex has been in discussion with ASTM since February and plans for the first phase of the project to either be fully launched or sent for ASTM approval by April.
CIC set up committees to create standards in nine areas: accommodation, meeting and event venues, destination selection, transportation, exhibits, food and beverage, communications, onsite office and audiovisual and production.
"The first step is to define the scope of their category because category terms are rather broad," said Amy Spatrisano, chair of the Green Meetings and Events Practice Panel and a principal at third-party meetings management firm Meeting Strategies Worldwide.
Once created, committees will send standards to Spatrisano's panel, then to the industry to obtain feedback. The standards will be revised and sent to Apex commissioners and ASTM for final approval.
By next month, Apex plans to provide an online forum to weigh in on the standards.
Implementation costs of phase-one standards will not be exorbitant, Spatrisano said. "If we don't do it at a base level, we'll spend years debating whether something should be added, because everything wants to get included," she said.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta-based Association of Green Meetings and Events was started in June, but counts more than 250 members, 72 percent of whom are buyers, said president and co-founder Loriann White. AGME has developed a green meetings certification, consisting of a 25-hour, 13-step course.
The certification process includes developing an environmental mission statement, looking at different types of meeting budgets and negotiating green contracts and addenda with suppliers.
At the conclusion of the course, participants must conduct a post-convention report of an actual meeting and submit a case study, she said. The CGME program will be held in Atlanta in November.