Standard Operating Procedure for Green Events

It’s official. There are now standards for holding a green event. After more than four years and countless hours of discussion, debate and demands, the consensus-based APEX/ASTM Sustainable Event Standards have been published.

Vendors can comply in all nine sectors or only in those directly related with a specific meeting or event. Categories include:  Accommodations, Communications, Destinations, Exhibits, Food & Beverage, Meeting Venue, On-Site Office, Transportation and Audiovisual. Information on ordering the standards is available on the
Convention Industry Council’s website.

This is good news for planners and suppliers alike. For planners, it provides a checklist of sustainable practices and an easy way to benchmark progress. For suppliers, it means planners should all be using the same checklist instead of redefining “green” with every request for proposal. Vendors who already comply with the standards will have a competitive advantage during the selection process.

Now the meetings industry is watching closely to see how readily the APEX/ASTM Standards will be adopted. Large organizations and associations which have been holding sustainable meetings in the past are giving the first nod to the Standards by benchmarking their current meetings and events against them. From this point on, those organizations can develop their sustainable objectives and targets in line with the Standards.

The next question on everyone’s mind will be, “How can I get certified?” While Sustainable Event Certification is not yet available for individual planners, a third-party certification has become available for suppliers. The Colorado Convention Center was the first venue to receive the APEX/ASTM E2745 Sustainable Event Certification and others are expected to follow suit. The 
following press release details the certification process in conjunction with the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC).

If your organization isn’t quite ready to adopt the standards, but would like to start implementing green meeting practices, there are a few things you can do to get going. These tips are in compliance with the Standards and will give you a jump start when you are ready.

Sustainability Tips

1. Develop a sustainability policy. Start out with your vision of why it is important to your organization or event and then list your objective for the event. Hint: Ask vendors for their sustainability policies too.

2. Reduce, reuse and recycle during your event. What can you do without, what can be donated to use again and where can you recycle the rest?

3. Review your procurement strategies both for materials and food & beverage. Ask yourself where it came from, how was it packaged, was it local or organic, and how will it be served?


One day all of these sustainability initiatives will be Standard Operating Procedure for EVERY meeting. Until then, you have the rare opportunity to be a part of the beginning of a new era in event planning while leading the way to make change in the world.
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