The Accepted Practices Exchange, an initiative of the Convention Industry Council, has launched a new working group—the APEX Green Meetings and Events Practices Panel, bringing the meetings industry a step closer to developing baseline standards to achieve responsible levels of sustainability.

While the green standards will be voluntary for the meetings industry, APEX is partnering with ASTM International, an international standards-setting organization, to create standards the Environmental Protection Agency can embrace.

Amy Spatrisano, principal, Meeting Strategies Worldwide, and board chairwoman of the Green Meeting Industry Council, is spearheading this GMEPP effort and has reached out to the entire meetings industry to contribute to creating the standards through a grass-roots effort.

Each of the GMEPP committees includes planners, suppliers, and government officials, and each is focused on one of nine topic areas: transportation, accommodations, meeting venues, exhibits, food and beverage, communications, on-site offices, destination, and audiovisual production. Committee members will be drafting standards, which will then be sent for comment to a number of live city discussion groups as well as virtual discussion groups.

As of press time, city discussion groups were being established in Atlanta; Baltimore; Chicago; Denver; Washington, D.C.; Gainesville, Fla.; Louisville, Ky.; Minneapolis; Salt Lake City; San Diego; and Toronto. Groups will begin working late this year or early next year.

To learn more about volunteering for a city discussion group, please contact APEX Director Sue Tinnish, at