As a supporter of World Earth Day 2015, the IMEX Group committed to further decrease the footprints of its exhibitions and to encourage corporate social responsibility (CSR) at IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America in Las Vegas.
“At both shows, we will be taking further steps on our sustainability journey, working closely with our partners, including Meet Green, GMIC, The Venetian| The Palazzo and the Sands Expo, Messe Frankfurt and GES. We’ll not only be further reducing the ecological impact of our own use of resources and material but also continuing to encourage exhibitors and buyers to contribute, making it even easier for them to help in their own way,” stated Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group.
IMEX America 2015 will continue to pursue Level 1 APEX/ASTM compliance. Focus areas include:
- Ongoing education with exhibitors on reducing the impact of booth design, transport & printed collateral
- Better signage and information at waste stations to assist sorting of materials
- Continued awareness and option analysis around the show’s own printed collateral
This follows the results of the IMEX America 2014 Sustainability report– now available online — which shows that the event took substantial strides. It shows:
- The APEX/ASTM score rose to 79 percent, up 7 percent over 2013
- Total waste was down by 20 percent, over 2013
- Food waste was down by 56 percent, over 2013
- Use of locally sourced foods was up 150 percent, over 2013
- Total electricity use was down 10 percent on 2013
- For the first time at the show GES reached 100 percent in the Exhibitor-General Services Contractor category Level 1
Contributing to these results were factors like providing 100 percent compostable service ware at concession and snack areas, and more efficient lighting & HVAC, master room switches and huge rooftop solar-thermal systems at The Venetian| The Palazzo. Also, using creative food sourcing resulted in 50 percent of the exhibitor menu and 21.5 percent of all food served at the show being local.
More frequent communication as well as creating highly practical ways to make contributing easier played key roles. For example, the Badge Back program grew by 700 percent, gathering 1,600 badges which were donated to the local Las Vegas Teachers Exchange. Exhibitors further donated 15,999 lbs. of reusable materials, including floral arrangements, to The Teacher’s Exchange, Sunrise Children’s Hospital and others.
To download a copy of the 2014 IMEX America Sustainability Report, visit http://www.imexamerica.com/about-us/sustainability/
2014 also marked the biennial IMEX Challenge program, a humanitarian effort by the meetings industry that creates a long-lasting positive impact on the local community. Forty-six meetings industry volunteers worked the weekend prior to the show to revitalize a healing garden and organize thousands of donated items at the Shade Tree, a shelter for Las Vegas women, children and their pets. In addition, $14,600 was raised for the charity. This effort was created through close collaboration between IMEX, Sands Care, The Venetian| The Palazzo Horticulture Team and GES.
IMEX-GMIC Green Awards in Frankfurt
At IMEX in Frankfurt, in partnership with the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC), IMEX will recognize outstanding industry environmental and social initiatives by announcing the winners of the IMEX-GMIC Green Awards at the IMEX Gala Dinner, May 20 .
The awards span four categories covering key aspects of the green meetings sector: Green Meeting Award (small), Green Meeting Award (large), Green Supplier and Commitment to the Community.
Recent winners include Hands Up Incentives in 2014 for their work to build a traditional Hawaiian ‘hale’ (a thatched roof dwelling) to help local families to reconnect with their Hawaiian heritage. Sands China Ltd., a subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands Corp. was also recognized in 2014 for its initiatives to save energy, water, recycling, raise awareness and share best practices with local stakeholders.
In general, there has been a steady increase in the consciousness and participation of the industry in sustainable and CSR practices over the past decade. Visitors to IMEX in Frankfurt 2015 will have the opportunity to attend sustainability sessions at the Inspiration Hub, to pick up advice on how to make meetings and events greener, as well as contribute to CSR initiatives including USB recycling initiative – where old USB sticks are sent to schools in India to be re-used, as well as the ‘Badge Back’ scheme, sponsored by the German Convention Bureau (GCB), where IMEX donates money to one of two local charities for every badge deposited into the special recycling bins at the show.
The “Charity Cooking” event, on Monday 18 May, is a hands-on CSR activity where international meetings industry colleagues cook a delicious and healthy meal in a shelter for homeless people in Frankfurt, co-sponsored by Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Other initiatives of the show include the many seminars, workshops and IMEX tours about sustainable event management.
Bauer commented, “IMEX has always been committed to supporting sustainable and socially responsible practices within the meetings industry. Having set up the first green awards in the industry in 2003, we were inspired by our award winners to develop our own programs and are proud of our sustainability record at our shows, as well as our strong support for the local communities in which we work – in Frankfurt, Las Vegas and Brighton. We will continue to provide education and awareness to suppliers and buyers within the industry on this key issue, to support the ongoing development of best practice.”