After years of planning, seven of the nine APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting standards have been published by ASTM International, the Convention Industry Council (CIC) reported this month
. Publication was only half the battle, however. Now, the meetings industry is tasked with the challenge of implementation, according to the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC), which last week announced its plans to roll out an "education roadmap" that will help meeting planners put the APEX standards into practice.
"This is our moment," said GMIC President Paul Salinger, vice president of marketing at Oracle Corporation. "Corporations and associations have been asking for a recognized standard to help define what makes a meeting more sustainable. Meeting professionals, facilities, and destinations have been looking for the training and education to put those principles into practice. Now, APEX/ASTM is a reality, and GMIC is ready to deliver."
GMIC already has introduced a certificate course on the foundations of sustainable meeting planning, as well as a seven-step program on integrating APEX/ASTM into meeting operations. Additionally, it has trained a dozen trainers to deliver sustainable meetings education based on the APEX/ASTM standards.
The new roadmap takes the association's efforts even further and calls for GMIC to develop and deliver nearly two dozen new training modules by July 2014, each addressing a key aspect of sustainable meetings practice at one of three levels of expertise: Explorer, Practitioner and Leader.
Specifically, the roadmap covers three key content areas: sustainability and industry standards; operations and examples; and innovations and next practices.
"The past four years have seen a global effort to develop sustainable meeting standards and reporting guidelines, but there's still a lot of confusion about how to apply these principles in the real world," said GMIC Executive Director Tamara Kennedy-Hill. "The industry needs a single, one-stop resource to help planners and decision-makers understand the standards, decide which ones to use for different purposes, and get on with the job. GMIC is the only meetings association devoted full-time to sustainability, so it's our job to put that training in place."