Home Publisher's Point of View Long-Awaited Sustainable Meetings Standards Here–Well, Almost

Long-Awaited Sustainable Meetings Standards Here–Well, Almost


The Convention Industry Council (CIC) announced this past week that eight of the nine APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting standards are complete. The standards were conceptualized and initiated by the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Development has taken place through a partnership between CIC’s Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX), an initiative that focuses on industry best practices, and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International. The standards have been in development since 2007. The eight standards areas that have been ratified cover: Audio-Visual, Communication & Marketing Materials, Destinations, Exhibits, Food & Beverage, Meeting Venue, On-Site Office, and Transportation.

Still waiting ratification are the Accommodations standards. I spoke with Karen Kotowski, CEO of CIC and she told me that the ballot for those standards just closed. If objections from a few of those involved in the standards process are, in Kotowski’s words, “adjudicated,” it is possible that the Accommodations standards could be complete sometime in January or February.

Why are the standards important to our industry? They will act as guidelines for defining what is sustainable when it comes to green meetings. The standards will be used by meeting planners and host facilities. Kotowski said many of CIC’s members intend to develop educational materials to help explain the standards. CIC is looking into incorporating the standards into its Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) program. Some companies will use the standards as part of their calculators to measure environmental impact.

Initially a Self-certification Process

Kotowski said that by using the standards sites will be able to self-certify to one of four levels of sustainability. “A planner will want to know what level of the standards hotels will meet,” she said. CIC is currently looking into certification beyond self-certification—whether or not another organization or organizations should certify facilities based on the standards.

The first eight standards will be available sometime this month through ASTM. There will be a charge of about $30 to $40 to obtain each standard. The CIC website will link to the ASTM standards order page when the standards are ready.

Moving forward after the standards are published, ASTM will handle the process by which any changes are made. “We anticipate also having some type of feedback mechanism on our site,” Kotowski said.

The hospitality industry has been waiting very patiently for these standards. It is exciting that eight of the nine are complete. I am looking forward to seeing them. Of course it is the Accommodations section that I am most anticipating. I have heard the section is quite long. Be sure to watch for reviews of the different standards on Green Lodging News.

As always, I can be reached at (440) 243-2055 or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

Green Lodging News Adds Osram Sylvania Case Study to Site

Green Lodging News has added a new case study to the Vendor Case Studies section of Green Lodging News. The case study focuses on the Tremont Plaza Hotel in downtown Baltimore and its installation of compact fluorescents (CFLs) from Osram Sylvania. The 300-guestroom property replaced 2,200 60- and 100W incandescent lamps with more energy-efficient CFLs. Energy savings was the primary goal of the lighting replacement, but it was equally important to Tremont Plaza Hotel that the suites’ aesthetic appeal and guests’ comfort not be sacrificed. A number of solutions were evaluated, but hotel management ultimately selected the Osram Sylvania 23W Living Spaces CFL. Click here to read the entire case study. Also go to www.sylvania.com or call Colleen Applebaugh at (978) 395-6887.

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Every two weeks Green Lodging News posts a new guest column on its website. (Click here for examples.) The guest column also appears in the weekly e-newsletter. Green Lodging News is currently in need of industry experts to contribute occasional guest columns. Experts may include consultants, architects, designers, suppliers and those who own or operate green lodging establishments. Columns may be articles that take a stance on a particular subject or be strictly educational in nature. Columnists benefit by having their photo included along with a one paragraph description of their company. Interested in writing a column? Contact Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor, at (440) 243-2055, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

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Green Lodging News Tops 1,000 Twitter Followers

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As always, I can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.