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2011 Sustainable Meetings Conference stresses new skills

The game is on in Portland, Ore. this week as the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) welcomes a record number of participants to its annual Sustainable Meetings Conference.


“The conference will deliver sustainability education for meeting professionals, using a conference design which incorporates game theory, and a game format that gives every participant a chance to become immersed and wholly engaged with the content,” said Guy Bigwood, GMIC president and sustainability director, MCI Group.

Case study teams will meet throughout the conference and produce sustainable meeting scenarios that are created using their current knowledge in combination with information gained at the conference educational sessions.

“With the Game ON! concept, GMIC is experimenting with gaming as a learning design tool,” said Paul Salinger, GMIC president elect, marketing VP, Oracle Corporation. “Our members are advanced sustainability practitioners. They crave a different learning environment. With Game On they are pushed to learn and apply the new ideas, knowledge, and resources they’ve picked up in a friendly and competitive way.”

Case studies and special plenary sessions are:

• Opening general sessions focused on the business imperative of sustainability and setting sustainability objectives.
• Special keynote from Dr. Karl-Henrik Robert, founder of The Natural Step.
• Closing keynote from Ted Ning, executive director of LOHAS.
• Sessions on the APEX/ASTM environmental sustainability standards.

Game On is extended to global audiences with a customized virtual package that allows remote audiences to participate in and follow the keynote sessions and case study development.

The GMIC believes that a strong, effective sustainability strategy is among the surest of ways to build a lean, resilient meetings program.

GMIC Conference Programs Chair Elizabeth Henderson, chief sustainability strategist with Calgary-based Meeting Change, said the conference’s record turnout, shatters the myth that the meetings industry turned away from sustainability after the global recession.

“Over 312 of the meetings industry sustainability leaders will come together and experience three very different days of learning, sharing and networking,” said Henderson. “This type of collaboration is what the industry needs to transform business practices and results, and advance towards a more sustainable future.”

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