The Society of Incentive and Travel Execu-tives' annual International Conference, held in December in Monterey, Calif., introduced the concept of sustainable incentives to 450 attendees from around the globe through its education sessions and planning practices.

SITE “walked the talk” for this meeting, offering Hertz “eco-cars” for rent, distributing conference handouts on flash drives, choosing refillable sports bottles over disposable plastic water bottles, and more. One evening event was held at the Monterey Aquarium, where guests learned about sustainable fishing and were given resources for menu planning that could help them choose fish that were not improperly caught or over farmed.

The meeting's speakers reinforced the green message, led by National Geographic photographer Steve Uzell, who shared his remarkable images from around the world. The roster also included Amy Spatrisano, principal of Meeting Strategies Worldwide, who focused on green meeting and hotel practices; and Linda Baum, president of Exclusive Destinations, who spoke on sustainable tourism.

The conference was preceded by the International SITE Foundation's first golf event, held at Monterey Peninsula's Pebble Beach Resorts, which raised funds for the new research arm of SITE. The next event is September 11-14 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The society also welcomed its new president for 2008, Padraic Gilligan of Ovation Global DMC, Dublin, Ireland, whose first charge is a branding campaign to be developed from research being done on the purpose and future of the association. He also introduced a new fitness challenge, in which SITE members will track the exercise they do every day in return for “miles” that will earn money for UNICEF.

The Best Incentives

Winners of the annual Crystal Awards, which honor the most outstanding incentive programs of the year, were announced at the Society of Incentive and Travel Executives International Conference in December. A new award category, honoring sustainable incentive events, was won by Uwin Iwin Incentives of Johannesburg, South Africa, for its client, Momentum South Africa. The winning program took qualifiers on a trip to Botswana that included an expedition to place tracking collars on two wild elephants. The second winner in that category was Carlson Marketing for Oracle. Its program employed 27 South African women to make garments for the final gala and resulted in the women opening a full-time business.

Here's a rundown of the other 2007 winners:

  • Impact Incentives, Johannesburg, South Africa, for Standard Bank

  • Creative Incentives, Randburg, South Africa, for Avroy Shlain Cosmetics

  • Creative Travel, New Delhi, India, for Tetra Pak

  • Harith Productions, Philadelphia, for King Pharmaceuticals and Endo Pharmaceuticals

  • EVT Marketing Group, New South Wales, Australia, for Yamaha Australia and New Zealand

  • World Incentives, Cape Town, South Africa, for Bytes Technology Group

  • USMotivation, Atlanta, for Diebold

  • Cantrav Incentive Services, Des Moines, Iowa, for ITA Group