People interested in the standards being created for greening meetings and events will have an opportunity to comment on them starting the week of March 16, when the first phase of city discussion groups (CDGs) rolls out, according to an announcement made at the Greening the Hospitality Industry Conference, organized by the Green Meeting Industry Council in Pittsburgh last week.

Members of the meeting, convention, and exhibition industry may participate in these town-hall-like meetings that will invite discussion about draft standards released by the APEX (Accepted Practices Exchange) Green Meetings and Events Practice Panel, which is creating best practices in greener meetings around nine topic areas: accommodations, audiovisual and production, communication, destinations, exhibits, food and beverage, meeting venue, on-site offices, and transportation. All members of the panel are volunteers and stakeholders in the meetings industry.

The first round of discussions will take place in Atlanta; Baltimore; Chicago; Washington; Gainesville, Fla.; Louisville, Ky.; Portland, Ore.; San Diego; Seattle; and Vancouver, British Columbia. Later this spring CDGs will take place in Denver; Minneapolis; Philadelphia; San Francisco; South Florida; Toronto; and Frankfurt, Germany.

Before the standards are finalized they will be vetted by the meetings community; by the Environmental Protection Agency, which is participating in the panel; and by ASTM International, a nonprofit organization that has developed standards in more than 1,000 industries.

For those unable to attend city discussion groups in person, a virtual discussion board will be coming soon to the Apexsolutions.org Web site.

For more information and to register for a CDG, go to the www.APEXsolution.org Web site. APEX is an initiative of the Convention Industry Council.