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April 2012

Green Means Go

By Christopher Durso, Executive Editor
APEX/ASTEM Standards in ConveneThe APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards are finally a reality. Three years after the Convention Industry Council’s (CIC) Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) initiative first submitted the nine standards to ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) International for review and approval, ASTM recently published eight of them — with the ninth standard slated for publication within the next few months.

“That means [the standards are] now publicly available,” said Lawrence Leonard, CMP, CIC’s chief operating officer and director of APEX. “They’re complete, which means they are now available for planners and suppliers to ... get familiar with them and see how they can be put into practice inside of their organizations.”

The eight newly published standards address Audio-Visual, Communication & Marketing Materials, Destinations, Exhibits, Food & Beverage, Meeting Venue, On-Site Office, and Transportation. The ninth standard that’s still pending addresses Accommodations.

Taken together, the standards “define what an environmentally sustainable meeting might look like,” Leonard said, and “create a roadmap, a series of guidelines, for planners and suppliers who want to improve the environmental sustainability of their meetings.” Ultimately, they’re designed to bolster the sustainability of the meetings industry, Leonard said, as well as “the communities that are touched by it.”

It’s been a long and winding road for the standards, which were drafted by meetings industry volunteers working with APEX and then over the next three years painstakingly critiqued by ASTM, revised, critiqued again, and revised again. (Read an April 2011 Convene article about the standards.) Now it’s time to use them.

“The next step is one of building awareness of the standards,” Leonard said, “certainly making planners and suppliers aware that the standards are there, helping our industry understand the relevance and the importance of these standards.” He added: “The standards aren't a magic bullet that is going to eliminate all the environmental impact of meetings or events for an entire organization. But the standards will help those organizations develop a program around environmental sustainability.” 

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