Concern about the environment and a realization that going green makes good business sense are driving a robust trend toward green meetings. These points resonated at Financial & Insurance Conference Planners webinar — “Green Meetings: Call to Action,” held in July. Moderated by FIM Editor Regina Baraban, the FICP webinar included Shawna McKinley, executive director, Green Meeting Industry Council; Michelle White, director of environmental affairs, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts; Harry Lewis, attorney advisor, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Tiffany Schermerhorn, EPA procurement analyst. Among the takeaways: The EPA is taking the lead on green meetings issues, particularly with initiatives like its Green Meetings and Conferences Rule that went into effect May 1. This rule requires “environmentally preferable purchasing” for every meeting sourced by the EPA, and could be expanded to other federal agencies if the latest energy bill gets through Congress as currently written. Meanwhile, Fairmont's White noted that during the last 18 months, meeting planners have been asking for information on hotels' green policies and procedures as part of their request for proposal process. Once planners start applying green meetings practices, added McKinley, the eco-friendly meeting will become second nature.

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