The meetings and conventions industry is on the brink of a green consensus.

The initiative to create standards for environmentally sustainable events is “at the finish line,” says Karen Kotowski, CAE, CMP, chief executive officer at the Convention Industry Council, an umbrella group representing 31 industry organizations.

Since 2008, the CIC’s Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) and the U.S. standard-setting body ASTM International have been at work designing environmental standards in nine industry sectors—accommodations, audiovisual, communication and marketing, destinations, exhibits, food and beverage, meeting venue, on-site office, and transportation. On June 13, CIC announced that the ASTM E60.02 Committee on Hospitality had completed its review of all but the accommodations sector.

The next step in the process is an executive-level review of the new standards by ASTM’s Committee on Standards. According to CIC, the standards for exhibits, food and beverage, and on-site office are scheduled for review in July, while audiovisual, communication and marketing, destinations, meeting venue, and transportation will be reviewed in August. After approval by the executive committee, the standards will also undergo a final editorial phase and then be released for publishing.

The accommodations standards continue to be revised, with the draft expected to be completed in late summer.

"This is a major accomplishment for the many volunteers and stakeholders in our industry, and in the ASTM standards development world, who have devoted countless hours to the development, revision, and refinement of the standards,” Kotowski said.

Sue Tinnish, who chairs the ASTM E60.02 Committee on Hospitality, stated, "The APEX/ASTM standards are certainly more robust as a result of the wide and varied input from the environmental scientists, materials and engineering community, environmental consulting, and various industries including plastics, chemicals, and construction. By gaining their consensus and input, the development of the standards took much longer than anticipated. However, we will have a more thorough and better product as a result."