Reporting Guidelines Released for Green Events

In the meetings industry, "sustainability" is an ambiguous word, like "success" or "engagement." Because it wants to change that, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) — an organization that advocates for the transparent reporting by companies of sustainability information — has issued new sustainability reporting guidance for meetings and events, the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) reported last week.

The guidance, set forth in GRI's new "Event Organizers Sector Supplement" (EOSS), will enable event organizers to report their sustainability performance in "a comparable way," according to GRI, which said the supplement defines how to provide qualitative and quantitative information on sustainability issues, including general sustainability issues such as greenhouse gas emissions and waste, as well as industry-specific issues like attendee travel, event legacy, and initiatives by event organizers to promote sustainability and transparency.

"Over the last 10 years there has been a growing interest in the 'greening' of events, with more and more organizations considering the sustainability performance of their activities," said Maaike Fleur, GRI's senior manager of reporting framework. "Public sustainability reporting is still quite a new concept for event organizers, but we anticipate that this new guidance will help them be more transparent about the impacts of their activities."

In addition to transparency, GRI hopes the new guidelines will help the meetings industry standardize best practices in the area of sustainability. "Reporting is also about sharing best practices and can enhance learning for event organizers not yet so familiar with sustainability strategy and reporting," Fleur continued. "Attendees are interested to know the sustainability strategies behind events. Events are a significant business investment so it is vital that we start measuring and reporting sustainability impacts if we are to move to a sustainable global economy."

The EEOS provides reporting guidance for all types and sizes of events, and covers the complete project life cycle of an event, from bid to planning, execution and, finally, post-event. It was developed using a multi-stakeholder process that engaged volunteers from events companies, governments, labor and civil society organizations, including GMIC.

"The release of the event organizers sector supplement through the Global Reporting Initiative, which is the global standard for corporate sustainability reporting, gives an enormous boost to the credibility, materiality and relevance of sustainability reporting for meetings and events," said GMIC President Paul Salinger, vice president of marketing for Oracle. "Sir Isaac Newton's famous words hold true for the future of the GMIC and its mandate of inspiring sustainability: 'If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.' The GRI event organizer's sector supplement provides those shoulders for us, and for all with the vision of sustainability in meetings and events."

The EEOS is available for complimentary download via GRI's website.