If all goes well with thevoluntary standards being developed by the Accepted Practices Exchange, an initiative of the Convention Industry Council, it will be harder to greenwash from now on because there will be established ways to measure green meetings and suppliers. It’s about time, because my inbox is overflowing with green “news,” and most of the time it’s hotels trying to market themselves based on greening efforts. After all, it’s the cause of the day.
APEX’s volunteers started on this effort just about a year ago, and it’s no easy task. The driving force behind the standards, Amy Spatrisano, principal of MeetGreen, Portland, Ore., thinks of the nine areas of meeting planning they will measure (things like transportation or F&B) as slices of a pie. If any one slice does not meet the established minimum standard—for instance, if the percentage of recycled material from a meeting falls short of the APEX-established minimum—the whole pie is spoiled. A meeting will not be able to call itself “green” by APEX standards if it contains even one bad slice. What’s more, the calculations for each meeting will produce a score for both the host organization and the supplier segment.
Which is good, because a meeting—or a hotel, for that matter—can’t claim to be green because of one positive practice when it’s doing other things that are environmentally irresponsible.