The 2009 IMEX exhibition, showcasing incentive travel, meetings, and event suppliers from around the globe, wrapped up at the end of May in Frankfurt, Germany. Green meeting issues were front and center at the show, with an awards program and IMEX’s own environmental initiatives worthy of note.
The IMEX Green Awards, given in partnership with the Green Meeting Industry Council, recognize outstanding achievement for, Green Suppliers, and Green Exhibitors, as well as Commitment to the Community.
The Gold Award in the Green Meetings category went to the U.S. Green Building Council (also the winner in 2006) for its 2008 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo held in Boston. Judges noted that the conference stood out for its success motivating suppliers to support its green initiatives and for its understanding of how to track and measure environmental targets. USGBC is the first North American group to have its entire meeting management department certified through BS 8901 (a British sustainable event certification).
The 2008 Oracle OpenWorld Conference, a San Francisco citywide that attracted 40,000 attendees and used 85 hotels, earned the Green Meetings Silver Award, with standout energy- and paper-saving efforts. Underscoring the idea that some of the smartest green ideas are free, the judges commended OpenWorld for, among other things, making sure all desktop computer monitors at the conference were shut down each night.
Two Australian convention centers took home the Green Supplier Awards. Gold went to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and Silver to the Adelaide Convention Centre. Melbourne’s center, the only facility to earn a six-star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia, stood out for its use of energy-saving technologies, including a solar hot-water system and an efficient lighting system with built-in motion detection.
Estoril Congress Center, located a short drive from Lisbon, Spain, was honored with the Green Exhibitor Award, given to an organization exhibiting at IMEX. The center was acknowledged for a new booth design and for purchasing carbon offsets for its freight and corporate travel, among other things.
IMEX itself has continued to make environmental progress, this year introducing badge lanyards made from plant silk, hiring biodiesel courtesy buses, and reusing surplus food. Last year, IMEX began using compostable badges and hydroelectric power, and, according to its first-ever independent environmental audit, reduced its per-delegate carbon emissions by 6.3 percent.
A related IMEX award, Commitment to the Community, recognizes the influence event planners can have on corporate social responsibility initiatives, both in terms of steering client behavior and being role models. U.K.–based events company World Events won IMEX’s Commitment to the Community award for the second year in a row, this time in recognition of its work on a conference in Malta for pharmaceutical company Allergan.