It may seem pretty obvious that I plan on attending the Green Meeting Industry Council’s (GMIC) upcoming Sustainable Meetings Conference. After all, it is being hosted at the Colorado Convention Center (the facility at which I hold the position of Sustainable Programs Manager) and the host chapter is GMIC-Colorado (of which I am President). However, both these tiny facts aside, I would still not miss the opportunity to attend this year’s conference!
As we all are slowing recovering from the gut punch which was the 2008/2009 recession, I am pleased to see the focus on sustainable meetings and events did not wane. In fact, despite perceived challenges in terms of time and money, interest in these practices continues to increase. This is a fact I must attribute to the reality that many of us have found ways to both implement sustainable practices while saving time and money.
Therefore, it is with great hope and expectation that I attend this year’s conference hungry for more ideas and eager to hear presentations from the variety of great speakers attending and hope you plan on doing the same. But if the informative conference program and endless networking opportunities aren’t enticing enough … here are a few extra reasons why this conference is not to be missed!
The Green DINR Dine Around- Highlighting some of Denver’s TOP restaurants which have adopted and committed to sustainable practices, Wednesday night’s Dine Around is a unique opportunity to get a table at the hottest restaurants featuring custom sustainable menus.
Mission Wear Community Project- This year’s community service project not only comes to the conference, but repurposes conference banners! GMIC members work side by side with Mission Wear, a non-profit organization that helps women recovering from addictions build their confidence and employable skills, by teaching them how to sew and cut bags from old Colorado Convention Center banners. These bags are then sold at local stores to support the women in their transition back to independent living.
EPA LEED Building Tour- GMIC attendees will get a private tour of this unique LEED Gold Building. This is an opportunity to see sustainable technologies and practices applied in the work place.
However, these are just some of the reason I am looking forward to the conference. Tamara Kennedy-Hill, Executive Director of GMIC, gives these reasons as why you can’t afford NOT to attend:
10. Green strategies save money: Green meeting specialists know how to save money on-site — by cutting waste, working with local suppliers and proving that the ‘eco’ in eco-efficiency is about economy as well as ecology.
9. Earning customer loyalty: A sustainable meeting builds customer loyalty, showing participants that their organization cares about the bigger picture—even in hard times.
8. Improving the on-site experience: The skills and knowledge behind a sustainable meeting can help you create a smarter, more interactive learning experience for participants.
7. Competitive advantage for vendors: Hoteliers and other vendors who demonstrate green knowledge and performance gain competitive advantage in an economy where any advantage is crucial to the bottom line.
6. Measuring the bottom line: Green performance metrics can only succeed environmentally if they pay off financially. So green measurement is a great way to assess the return your organization receives from its meetings investment.
5. Managing and mitigating risk: Leading organizations like Oracle, The Gap, the American Institute of Architects and the U.S. Green Building Council know that greening is the “right” thing to do. But it also mitigates risk. For top associations and Fortune 500 businesses, sustainable meetings are a great way to demonstrate good citizenship and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
4. Striking the balance: Meeting professionals have been struggling to find a balance between live and virtual meetings and to cope with the mounting challenges surrounding air travel. The 2010 Sustainable Meetings Conference is a place to explore solutions that keep the participant experience front and center.
3. Learning the standard: The program for the 2010 Sustainable Meetings Conference is built around the green meetings standard that will soon be released by the U.S. Accepted Practices Commission (APEX). Learning the practicalities of this detailed new standard will be an advantage for every organization that participates in the conference.
2. Building a network: The annual Sustainable Meetings Conference draws a network of senior, experienced meeting professionals who’ve built their green checklists into strategic action plans that support their companies’ core values and objectives. Attending the conference is the first step in making these thought leaders and decision-makers a part of your network.
1. Building momentum: This conference is about getting green done! On the first day, the Future Leaders’ Forum and the Leaders’ Track will both deliver action goals for the year ahead. At the closing roundtable, GMIC will invite leading meetings associations to discuss next steps for building a sustainable industry.
Hope to see you there!