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12 Keywords for the Change in Meetings Industry Trend 5. Environmental Sustainability / Green Meetings

Today, we are witnessing speedy development of new technologies such as mobile, social media, and virtual reality, and an outpouring variety of social issues such as economic depression and environmental questions. Under such circumstances, meetings industry people, who should lead the change, need to smartly cope with trends in the world with their brilliant insight into the world affairs. In this light, we have identified twelve major trends that reflect latest changes in the global meetings industry. Fifth keyword is environmental sustainability/ green meetings

5. Environmental Sustainability / Green Meetings

What Is a ‘Green Meeting’?

In today’s meetings industry, ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’ is no longer an innovative and ideal marketing concept. Rather, eco-friendly meetings are increasingly recognized as realistic and essential business strategy. Indeed, most of the exhibition and meeting hosts set sustainability as their agenda. In this light, we think that a more reasonable and practical eco-friendly strategy is needed to lead the global meetings industry. Then, what is a ‘Green Meeting’? Based on the principle established at Greening Events Symposium of ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) designed for eco-friendly events and held in Barcelona in September 2004, United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) defines an eco-friendly meeting as follows.

(A green event is one designed, organized and implemented in a way that minimises negative environmental impacts and leaves a positive legacy for the host community.)

Green Meeting Guide 2009, UNEP

Holding Eco-Friendly Meetings = Minimizing Environmental Destruction +α

The main purpose of holding eco-friendly meetings is to minimize the effects that holding meetings has on environment, but holding eco-friendly meetings not only minimizes environmental destruction but also creates various positive effects as follows.

① Costs savings
② Positive reputation
③ Environmental innovation
④ Awareness raising
⑤ Social benefits
⑥ influencing decision-making
⑦ Spreading best practice within the organization
Guidelines on Holding Eco-Friendly Meetings

Meetings industry had discussed the need to develop a standardized manual for eco-friendly meetings that can be used until APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards was established in the end. The development of the manual was first proposed by the Green Meetings Industry Council through discussion with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the manual creation was concretized when CIC and ASTM (The American Society for Testing and Materials International) joined the project in July 2008. It took four years until February 2012, when the manual was made available to the public. APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards includes nine areas of accommodations, A/V (audio-visual), communication and marketing materials, destinations, exhibits, food and beverage, meeting venue, on-site office, and transportation.
Eco-Friendly Alliance

Currently, various alliances are created throughout the meetings industry with a view to more strategic type of eco-friendly operation, for which a leading case could be Global Green Alliance. As a strategic consultative body created by the three eco-friendly convention centers of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Center (MCEC), Cape Town International Convention Center (CTICC), and Arena and Convention Center Liverpool (ACC Liverpool), that led the world Green Meeting market to ride the eco-friendly trend in the industry, Global Green Alliance was organized at 2009 International Congress and Convention Association Congress and launched officially at IMEX Trade Show held in Frankfurt, Germany in May 2010.

The primary purpose of the consultative body lies in practicing collaborative model management through the alliance of world-renowned convention centers that lead the eco-friendly operation of convention centers, establishing objective standard for eco-friendly operation of convention centers, and spearheading global expansion of eco-friendly meeting market by encouraging the eco-friendly activities at other centers.

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