The new event sustainability standards: Why they matter.
Saturday, 3rd March 2012
Source : Jenise Fryatt
What are the new event sustainability standards and what do the mean for event professionals?

Andrew Walker of E3 Strategy has been immersed in the world of event sustainability for some time. He launched E3 Strategy in 2010 to address the growing need for sustainability management professionals within the meetings industry.

He also currently serves on the global Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Advisory Council; is an active member and director of the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) and belongs to both the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) and the Sustainable Event Alliance (SEA).

I recently asked Andrew (right) a couple of questions about event sustainability.

What's new regarding event sustainability standards?

4Hoteliers Image LibraryWhat's new about event sustainability standards is that they ARE so new!

2012 is shaping up to be an exciting year in our industry as not one, not two, but three internationally-recognized standards are being released, including the ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Management Systems standard (scheduled to be published in June), the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards (eight of the nine sector standards were published last week), and the Global Reporting Initiative Event Organizers Sector Supplement (GRI EOSS) (available for free download since January).

After nearly five years of blood, sweat and tears shed by countless volunteers from across all sectors of our global industry, we finally have an agreed-upon definition of what it takes to ensure our meetings and events are organized with social, environmental and economic sustainability in mind.

Why is this important for event professionals to know about?

Don't we all want to be on the cutting-edge of best practices within meeting/event management? While the economic downturn of the past few years pushed CSR/sustainability further down the corporate agenda, it didn't go away completely. That said, it's not top of mind for most meeting/event professionals but it will increasingly become a business imperative.

We're seeing that in the corporate world already so it's only a matter of time that our meetings and events will need to reflect these CSR policies.

The great thing about these standards is that they are designed to help planners and suppliers manage, measure and report on their sustainable practices in a more organized and systematic way. It may take time for them to become mainstream, but I say let's get started now and stay ahead of the curve!

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