Convention Industry Council (CIC) tackles Green Meeting & Event Standards

This post is by Greg Ruby, Certifed Meeting Professional (CMP) and Certified Exhibition Manager (CEM) at the Baltimore Convention Center. He is fanatic about trade shows, exhibitions, conventions & venues. He is all about creating memorable events for organizers and attendees. All opinions expressed are his own.

Anyone who has worked in the meetings and events field for any length of time will admit there is a great deal of waste and trash produced by events, in particular trade shows. There was a Price Waterhouse report issued several years back citing trade shows as the second most wasteful industry. In the summer of 2008, the Convention Industry Council (CIC) through its Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) formed a Green Meetings & Events Practices Panel to write standards to make our industry more “green” and environmentally responsible.

Photo by janusz l via Flickr

The Results

During the past year, there have been many conference calls, meetings, and emails to produce drafts of standards in nine (9) different areas of event management. The 9 drafts that have been produced are: Destinations, Meeting Venue, Transportation, Accommodations, AV, Communication, Food and Beverage, Exhibits and Onsite Office. (Disclosure: I was a member of the subcommittee that developed the Meeting Venues standards.) Copies of all these drafts can be found at for your review. There is a lot of detail in these drafts so think twice before deciding to print out all of them!

What can I do?

Between now and September 11, 2009, APEX is conducting City Discussion Groups in several cities throughout the United States. Locations, dates and times can be found at Sign up to attend one of these “town hall” style meetings where you can discuss the drafts with fellow industry professionals and other event planners. The facilitators in each city will be gathering your feedback and sending your input back to the APEX Commissioners. (Thinking about becoming a Certified Meeting Professional or need to recertify? Attendance at a CDG is good for two points on the application or renewal!)

Not able to attend one of the City Discussion Groups? You can participate in a Virtual Discussion Group online! Just post your comments online at Be sure to read the blog’s “How to Post – Procedures and Policies” first!

What happens next?

APEX has been working in partnership with ASTM International, a world-wide membership group that serves as a open forum for the development of standards used around the globe. By working with ASTM, it will help facilitate these green standards to be adopted as best practices by many different government agencies. Once approved, CIC will work closely with its member organizations to roll out the standards into the field.

Are the drafts perfect? No. But it is a much needed start to a difficult topic and these standards can then be “tweaked” as we go forward.