After years in the making—good things take time, after all—the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards were released earlier this year, sharing 2012 with two other major sustainable event standards releases: ISO 20121 and GRI EOSS.
But now that you know what you’re supposed to measure to ensure more-sustainable meetings, how do you go about doing it?
Whether you’re a green meetings expert equipped with a slide rule and advanced powers of mathematical cognition, or just an average, everyday planner with a heart of gold and/or an organizational mandate to “go green,” the age of measurement is upon us.
Following are some key tips from sustainable meetings experts.
“The first thing to do is really reflect and document what you do today because you’re not going to mark any progress unless you have a pretty clear understanding of where you are,” says Sue Tinnish, a Kendall College assistant professor and principal of SEAL Inc. who is an authority on sustainable meetings. “I think the reality is it’s difficult—if not impossible —to go from 0 to 120 mph in terms of sustainability. Being able to mark your progress will help you build future business cases to know your progress as well as any costs or benefits.”
A great beginning step is for planners to consult with their suppliers, Tinnish says, so they can learn what the suppliers are up to as far as sustainability measures.
“They can help you get that low-hanging fruit,” she says, citing as an example waste-haulers keeping track of how much materials they dump, recycle or compost.