Self-proclaimed “environmental alarmist” Chuck Templeton is a featured speaker at the Green Meeting Industry Council’s Sustainable Meetings Conference 2013 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, April 7–10.

Templeton is founder of OpenTable Inc., the global leader in restaurant reservations, who is turning his ingenuity to environmental efforts such as and Impact Engine. He is just one in a lineup of well-known environmental advocates and industry experts who will inspire and share best practices with meeting and hospitality professionals moving toward more sustainable event management.

GMIC celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2013, and the nonprofit meetings association dedicated to promoting sustainable meetings has many accomplishments to celebrate, among them a recent agreement with iCompli, a division of BPA Worldwide, to audit those using the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards. The Standards were released last year to address environmental and social sustainability in the meeting and event industry. Three organizations have already received the certification: the Colorado Convention Center; Visit Denver, the Convention & Visitors Bureau; and Image Audiovisuals.

Auditing Green Standards

GMIC reached an agreement with iCompli, said Tamara Kennedy, executive director of the GMIC, because “certification drives adoption of industry standards. We saw a real need in the industry for a certification program that industry participants could achieve and be recognized for their sustainability performance.” Under the terms of the agreement, GMIC will develop a registry of certified organizations and establish a practitioner group of industry experts to clarify certification issues and propose improvements to the standards. iCompli will develop certification protocols for each of the standards and all necessary forms and documents to support the certification process.

The ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meetings Standards are a series of nine voluntary standards developed by the meetings, conventions, exhibitions, and events industry to provide event planners and suppliers with specifications for producing events in a more sustainable manner. The standards specify performance criteria for staff management, communications, waste management, energy, air quality, water, procurement, and community partners. The standards were created in partnership with ASTM International, an ANSI-accredited standards development organization.

Go Green at IMEX

In other green meeting news, planners and suppliers have until March 8 to submit entries for the IMEX Green Awards. Winners will be announced at a gala evening during IMEX Frankfurt, May 21–23. IMEX will again run a Green Team program to help exhibitors reduce the levels of waste from their booths. Hosted buyers and visitors, as well as exhibitors, can join the Green Team.