Header photo courtesy of Revelry Photo House, body photos courtesy of U.S. Green Building Council
Collaboration is fundamental to innovation in any field, and it’s now making an impact on sustainability practices in particular. It’s also the keyword behind our new green award - IMEX-GMIC Innovation in Sustainability Award.
Working with our partners, Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC), we've launched an all new IMEX-GMIC Green Award for 2017 - the all-encompassing Innovation in Sustainability Award, designed to celebrate inspiring event professionals who are driving sustainability forwards through innovation, collaboration and idea sharing.
This new award replaces the three separate awards that have been offered in previous years. The criteria is suitably wide, however. The new award recognises the meeting owner, planner, venue or other key suppliers, rather than individual achievements by a single supplier or event as Mariela McIlwraith from our partner GMIC explains:
"Most businesses are now acutely aware of the need for sustainable practices and the positive business boost these practices can deliver. The question many businesses are now asking is not why, but how – how can we be sustainable in our activities and our events?"
"Collaboration is the watch word here. It’s only through working as a wider team - with the event destination, suppliers, stakeholders and the wider community - that we can identify sustainability challenges and gain fresh and innovative insight into how these challenges can be addressed."
The new award defines the meeting, incentive, convention or exhibition programme stakeholder team as including the meeting owner, meeting planner, venue and up to three additional suppliers or supporters (convention and visitor bureau, technology supplier, food and beverage supplier, sustainability consultant, etc.)
For a great example of collaboration, let’s turn to one of last year’s Green Award winners, the Greenbuild 2014 International Conference & Expo, U.S. Green Building Council and Informa Exhibitions US (USGBC).
Greenbuild International Conference & Expo is the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. When the Board of Directors went to New Orleans to assist with the Hurricane Katrina clean-up, USGBC made a commitment to bring Greenbuild to the city. Greenbuild New Orleans, held in 2014, is a prime example of how the conference was not only a platform to educate attendees, but also enabled the event team to transform a city’s infrastructure, impact the health and wellbeing of its residents, benefit the environment and leave a lasting impression for generations to come.
For the 2014 event, Informa Exhibitions, USGBC and Emerge Alliance partnered to create the world’s first Net Zero Zone, a designated area on the show floor powered by a micro grid, generating power from onsite solar panels. Truly innovative!
The event’s legacy project created in conjunction with the host city’s Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development is now a community hub for green building and energy efficiency education. It also serves as an educational and training centre for the local community.
"Careful planning and collaboration help to create solutions that deliver impact in the long term rather than a one-off. Ideally, sustainability programmes should be built in such a way that they can be used time and time again – recycled if you will! Considering the event’s legacy and how to deliver this via education is crucial."
"One example I like to use is that of a well – it’s no use building a well in a water-restricted country if the community isn’t taught how to maintain it so it can be used long term."
"When it comes to considering how to address sustainability issues, businesses can learn plenty by looking at examples of how it has been tackled by others. Examples of sustainability success – as well as challenges – can prove to be good guide."
"Ways of addressing sustainability are ever evolving and technology, such as the blossoming sector of event apps, which has a large part to play in helping people apply fresh thinking to this crucial business issue."
Applications for the new IMEX-GMIC Green Award for 2017 are now open. Meeting owners, planners, venues and other key suppliers are all invited to apply here by 1 March 2017. We'll present the Award at the Gala Dinner at IMEX in Frankfurt 2017.