Published on : Friday, June 2, 2017
Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of meeting planners have increased their efforts in the last five years to put sustainability best practice into action, including 21 per cent who declare they have ‘significantly increased’ their efforts.
This positive news comes on the eve of World Environment Day (5 June) from research carried out in advance of IMEX America by the IMEX Group and Meeting Professionals International (MPI).
The survey also asked, when planning and running meetings, which sustainability measures make the biggest positive impact. The result was decisive. Almost half (48 per cent) said ‘reducing waste’ and a further third (33 per cent) selected ‘recycling or donating unwanted or waste materials’.*
These findings are in line with practice and experience at the recent IMEX in Frankfurt. There the IMEX team introduced a new initiative – Waste Watcher – in partnership with local community group ShoutOutLoud. The IMEX team aimed to reduce waste by providing opportunities for everyone at the show (but chiefly exhibitors) to re-use and recycle leftover food, furniture, stand graphics, flowers and stationery that would usually go to waste.
Speaking about partners Shout Out Loud, Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group said: “It’s taken us many years and a lot of effort to find a local organisation with the same values and mindset as IMEX, as well as the network and willingness to work with us. It’s also been important to understand changing legislation, especially around food-handling, for instance. So it was just great that so many visitors and especially our exhibitors were interested in and supportive of our new Waste Watcher programme. We learned – and they helped – a lot this year. It was a great start but we already have bigger ambitions for 2018.
“By organising projects such as this, which make waste reduction more visible and accessible on the show floor, we aim to make the greening of big meetings and events more acceptable,” Bauer said. “And behind the scenes, we also produce a comprehensive Sustainable Exhibiting Guide for all our exhibitors, which offers great tips on how to make small changes that make a big difference.”