What’s new in green or sustainable meetings? This is most certainly the No. 1 question I have been asked over the past year.

We humans are so trained to look for the new, fresh, latest trends in everything we do and this is no exception. Sustainable meetings have been around a while, and now we are anxious to be finished implementing policies, check it off our list and move on to something more exciting.

It might help to think of sustainability in the hospitality industry as a large ship. It doesn’t turn on a dime, and it takes a while to make a mid-course correction a few degrees at a time. Sometimes you just need to keep your hands on the rudder and keep making incremental changes. Not as exciting, I know.

With that said, there are some areas of green events that are on the forefront of this course correction today:

Measurement. This next step is finally taking hold. No longer can event organizers and venues say they are “green” without the data to back it up. I was happily surprised at how many of the session presenters at the GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference in Montreal had slides full of facts and figures to back up their claims. These facts and figures also prove the business case for environmental responsibility by showing the economic savings and making it easier to sell to key stakeholders.

Measurement also appears to be a precursor to the adoption of standards for most organizations as they get a baseline of their environmental impact. (See the article in next month’s issue featuring an in-depth story on measurement.)