Whether your organization is just getting started on its green meeting initiatives or needs some inspiration to dive deeper into the process, the Sustainable Meetings Conference, April 22–25 in Montréal, offers something for everyone.
Before the Green Meeting Industry Council’s annual event even officially opens, a full-day workshop on Saturday will cover the “Foundations for Sustainable Event Planning.” And from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, GMIC is partnering with Meeting Professionals International, IMEX, and MCI to present the Future Leaders Forum, a free course for students focused on sustainability issues. The full-day session will include a back-of-the-house tour of green efforts at the conference host site, Hilton Montréal Bonaventure.
John Picard’s keynote on Monday should set an inspiring tone for the week. Picard, an architect and green visionary, was a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council; served as sustainability director for Live Earth, the largest multi-city concert in history; and was responsible for greening the White House during the Clinton administration.
Attendees can take Picard’s get-it-done attitude into their sessions, with breakout topics ranging from creating green teams, green menus, and managing the green event supply chain to understanding how the ISO 20121 green management system works in conjunction with the APEX/ASTM standards.
GMIC plans to once again incorporate innovative game elements into its meeting, building on its experience from 2011. (Attendees can hear a case study on the 2011 Sustainable Meetings Conference game elements during a breakout on Monday morning.) This year, there will be an individual, self-directed level of play as well as a team experience, which will be optional. The meeting will have a customizable mobile application.
A new feature this year is a half hour scheduled for a series of attendee-driven “Blink Presentations.” During each presentation, which lasts two to five minutes, conference delegates will share stories of their green efforts. The call-for-presentations puts it this way: “Share something about yourself: what inspires you, what you are passionate about. Excite us with stories of your success; empower us with stories of overcoming adversity; all in the realm of sustainable meetings and events, of course!”
On Wednesday afternoon after the final Sustainable Meetings Conference session, up to 45 attendees will have the option to tour Cirque du Soleil’s international headquarters in Montréal. Visitors will hear about the history of the company and its social responsibility initiatives, and tour the artists’ training studios as well as the workshops where costumers and carpenters work behind the scenes to produce the shows.