ASTM International and the Environmental Protection Agency have taken a major step toward creating universal standards for green meetings. On February 14, about 25 stakeholders, including representatives from the Convention Industry Council and the Green Meeting Industry Council, attended an organizational webconference held by ASTM, at which they voted that the organization should move forward with standards development under the formal title of “ASTM International Activity on Green Meetings & Events.”

The EPA has been leading the green meetings charge by acting as a model with its own internal meetings and developing a Green Meetings/Conference Initiative with resources for meeting planners, including a green meeting checklist and suggested contract language for planners. In October, the agency held a meeting with ASTM in its Washington, D.C., offices to learn more about developing an objective standard for the EPA’s procurement specialists to apply to the goods and services they purchase for the government, including meeting space.

Although the Convention Industry Council’s Green Meeting Task Force developed best practices for green meetings in 2003, the government requires its agencies to use standards developed through an open “voluntary collaborative” process, which prompted the meeting with ASTM. ASTM is a nonprofit voluntary standards development organization that has created more than 12,000 standards used in dozens of industries in more than 60 countries. ASTM is in talks with CIC to collaborate on this effort, though it’s unclear who would “own” the standards once they’re developed; ASTM would charge for access to them.

A meeting was held February 18 in Vancouver, British Columbia, the day before the opening of the Green Meeting Industry Council’s 2008 Greening the Hospitality Industry Conference.

The standards development activities are open to all interested stakeholders. For more information, contact Pat A. Picariello, director, developmental operations, ASTM, at ppicarie@astm.org.