Predictions for sustainable meetings and events, 2012: part 3

We ring in the New Year by rounding out our predictions list for 2012.  As with our earlier posts (here and here) we explore the trends and practical sustainable business practices which are helping planners and suppliers save money, build community and help the planet.  If we were counting these down New Year’s style, we’ve come to the part where the crowd chants and the ball drops setting off fireworks and big band music (cue celebratory din):  Here we go….

  1. Measurement and Reporting: 2012 will see a defined growth in measurement of event impacts and reporting to stakeholders.  This trend will be a natural extension of the rapid growth in reporting seen in the corporate sector.  At present, 95% of the Global Fortune 250 companies now complete sustainability reports to investors and stakeholders. One reason for the intense interest in reporting can be attributed to organizational effort to build trust with investors and clients.  The economic crisis has compromised the perception of business integrity and transparent reporting of financial returns. Sustainable business practices are an effective way to show that organizations are committed to responsible behavior. For more and more such organizations in 2012, tracking sustainability data will be fundamental to goal setting and trust building.  Top 4 list of things the industry will measure this year:
  • Return on Investment
  • Event related carbon emissions
  • Total waste/recycling/donations
  • Investment in local communitySee this brief, informative presentation on the topic of organizational sustainability reporting  from Ethical Corporations’ Toby Webb
Corporate responsibility reporting 2011 trends

View more presentations from Toby Webb
2-  Supply Chain Management: ‘Greening the supply chain’ has been a focus of many industries but will be a larger issue for the meetings industry in 2012.  Suppliers, such as hotels and conference centers, who attain eco-certifications will be required to conduct a review of the suppliers with whom they work.  Planners seeking compliance with any of the internationally recognized sustainability standards for meetings and events will also be evaluating the ability of their suppliers to support sustainable event outcomes.  The result will be a re-writing of purchasing policies and a shift away from suppliers who lack a proven engagement in sustainable practices.
3.  Education:  The proliferation and release of voluntary industry standards (ISO 20121, Apex Sustainable Meeting Standards and the Global Reporting Initiative Event Organizer Sector Supplement), along with the increased interest in reporting impacts, will increase interest in building planner and supplier skills through education.  Industry associations such as the Green Meeting Industry Council , Professional Conference Managers Association and Meeting Professionals International are, along with private sector sustainability resources, well poised to offer relevant and cost effective sustainability training for the industry.


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