IMEX, the worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings, and events, convenes each spring at Messe Frankfurt in Germany. While the business of the event is connecting buyers and sellers — 3,600 hosted buyers walked the floor in May — the organization creates sizzle with a series of environmental and social responsibility awards. The Green Awards, including this year's inaugural Green Supplier Award, are bestowed in conjunction with the Green Meeting Industry Council. Here's a rundown of the 2008 winners.

Green Meetings Award

Given to those committed to environmentally friendly meetings and demonstrating concrete outcomes, this year's Green Meetings Gold Award honored Scandic Hotels for an October 2007 meeting held at its Scandic Ariadne property in Stockholm. The meeting for environmental coordinators and chief engineers from Scandic's Swedish hotels epitomized the chain's sustainable business principles, and the judges were impressed by its methodical efforts to measure green practices. For example, Scandic sets yearly savings targets for each hotel on electricity and energy use; it also measures and sets goals for air quality, use of Earth-friendly cleaning products and organic food, water conservation, and waste management.

IMEX's Green Meetings Silver Award went to the Unitarian Universalist Association for its 2007 General Assembly, held at the Oregon Convention Center.

Green Exhibitor of the Year

This award, launched in 2006, recognizes an exhibitor that has reduced the environmental impact of appearing at IMEX, and this year it went to Malta Tourism Authority. The exhibit was noted for its lightweight, recycled materials and water-based paints; and a significantly reduced use of plastics, paper, and water.

Green Supplier Award

The inaugural Green Supplier Gold Award for environmental excellence went to Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, which launched a green program in 1990 that has since expanded to include sustainable procurement processes, waste management, and water- and energy-conservation measures. In 2007, Fairmont launched “Eco-Meet,” a tool to help planners reduce conference waste. The company has recently partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to develop a climate-change strategy.

The Silver Award in this category went to the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre for its 20-year history of managing its effects on the environment.

Commitment to the Community Award

Norgine Pharmaceuticals' Centenary Conference in Sun City, South Africa, orchestrated by World Events BV, challenged employees to raise money and build houses for a township in South Africa ravaged by the HIV virus. In addition to cash donations, clothes, toiletries, stationery, and more were distributed, and the village is now the company's official charity.

Blog

Pretentious Musings

“Pretentious Musings of a Green Meeting Martyr” — The name alone is reason enough to surf over to the blog written by Nancy Wilson, CMP, a principal at Meeting Strategies Worldwide, a Portland, Ore., company providing organizations with expertise in green meetings.

Environmentalism is a fast-evolving industry practice, and Wilson posts on new green meeting ideas and trends better than anyone out there. Since her blog launched at the beginning of the year, her posts have focused on useful tips, but they also ranged widely, from explaining carbon offsets to choosing healthy fish for banquets.

Go to www.meetingstrategiesworldwide.com and click on “view our blog.”