Archive for November, 2013

Challenges facing Meeting Planners committed to sustainability efforts

November 6, 2013

As the tradeshow and meetings world establish themselves in the area of sustainability, often meeting professionals feel overwhelmed and unsure about where to start or how to reduce their event’s environmental footprint.  There are new APEX/ASTM standards out now that were created to help set standards for “what is a Green Show” that sometimes get confusing and overwhelming.  With all the work a Meeting Planner  has to do to produce their shows, how can they also find time to help the environment?

“A step at a time,” advises Jeff Chase, VP of Sustainability at Freeman.  Jeff works with his clients to support their sustainability efforts, and he reports significant change over the past two years.  But, feelings of overwhelm and uncertainty about how to proceed often stop a planner from taking the first steps.

“Sometimes a tradeshow manager tries to do too much too fast, and must stop to remember, it’s best to start with small steps such as signage, and then evolve over the long term with a fuller sustainability program,” Chase says.  Signage re-use or recycling plans can be as simple as re-using certain signs that don’t change from year to year such as Registration, Information. etc.   Stop and think about each sign and if you can make it to work over multiple  events.  Or if you have some that are one time use only then find it a “second life.”

For example, a huge show of over 120,000 attendees, Consumer Electronic Show, created a “second life” program for banners to re-use the material in the making of badge holders or to be donated locally as covering for a school playground and have saved significant material from going to the landfill.  This one step has made a huge difference.

As the sustainability trend takes hold in the tradeshow industry, supplier vendor partners are increasingly called upon to create their own sustainability programs in line with their clients’ goals.  The Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC) has a campaign going right now called “ask for it” – which simply means for Meeting Planners to just ask all their vendors to help them to look out for the environment and to follow the Green show standards.

ProShow ‘s Sustainability Program of “everyone working with everyone” to achieve success is tied to our role in the staffing business as well as to our commitment to do our part in sustainability at the same time we act as an extension of our clients’ imperatives.

At IMEX America in Las Vegas this October, we recognized and gave awards to two event staffers for their recycling, re-use efforts not only at work but also in their daily lives.  We are proud to add Linda Gallo to a team of over 15 winners recognized at various shows and meetings in 2013.

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“Sustainability in our industry is here to stay, and is going to be the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for years to come,  so we all need to team up for success, ” reminds Chase. 

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Jeff Chase, VP Sustainability, Freeman Co.

 

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