Tuesday, 8 December 2009

DCVB First to Earn Green Plus Certification

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau has earned Green Plus certification from the Institute for Sustainable Development. Celebrating its 20th anniversary as Durham’s official community marketing agency, DCVB is the first organization of its type in the nation to be certified and just the second in Durham.

Green Plus is designed for small organizations and covers variables in three areas including rigorous standards for how an organization treats not only the planet but its workforce and how it performs overall. Both Duke University in Durham and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill partnered with the Institute to roll the certification out nationwide.

Photo: Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau

Monday, 24 August 2009

Charter Cities: Radical New Ideas for Better Cities?

Stanford economist Paul Romer believes in the power of ideas. He first studied how to speed up the discovery and implementation of new technologies. But to address the big problems we'll face this century -- insecurity, harm to the environment, global poverty -- new technologies will not be enough. We must also speed up the discovery and implementation of new rules, of new ideas about how people interact.

Throughout human history, big improvements in systems of rules took place when new governments entered the scene. In today's world, this process has been largely shut down. To bring it back to life, Romer proposes that we create new cities where people can go to escape from bad rules and opt in to new and better ones. With better rules, people can be safe, self-interest can protect the environment, and investment can bring families all the resources that the modern world has to offer.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Green Meeting Standards - Have your Say!

The complete draft of the APEX Green Meeting and Event Standards were launched yesterday including specifications in 9 different areas of meeting management, including destinations. This is YOUR opportunity to weigh in - so go online, give your feedback!

The registration site for the City Discussion Groups is up, and three in Atlanta, Denver and Baltimore are accepting registrations. We expect San Antonio to be up soon and others to follow shortly thereafter as dates/locations are confirmed. This link below will take you directly to the registration site.

Also, the Word Press Blog is up and ready to accept your comments online.

For those of you who are ASTM members the standards were posted there as well. This comment period is open for 30 days (ending September 11, 2009).

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Berlin Green

Berlin has recently launched a green micro-site for meetings and events. Berlin Green Meetings provides a sustainability facts about the destination and a directory of service providers that feature green offerings.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Have your Say: Green Destination Standards

So, what exactly should a destination city have in order to be considered a 'green' destination for meetings?
  • Should it have commercial recycling?
  • Must it have minimum amount of hotels providing green guest rooms?
  • Should it have a LEED certified convention centre?
  • A convenient transit link between the convention core and the airport?
Well, now is the time to have your say! Agree, disagree, but at least participate. APEX-ASTM Green Meeting and Event Standards for Destinations give direction to CVB's wanting to be green, help planners communicate the services they expect for their meetings and, at the end of the day, make the cities we call home more livable.

Contact smckinley@meetgreen.com if you would like to receive a copy of the current draft standard. Comment period is open until June 3, 2009.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Seven Deadly Sins

98% of consumer products marketed as green are greenwashing, according to TerraChoice in their newly revised report The Seven Sins of Greenwashing. With a 79% increase in green products available in North American retail stores since their 2007 report, TerraChoice advises consumers are becoming rather distrustful of environmental claims.

TerraChoice has added a new sin in this report: the worshipping of false labels. Companies committing this create the impression third-party endorsement exists when the opposite is true.

Several years ago I was conducting a site inspection at a convention centre which indicated it had achieved an energy efficiency certification. As part of my due diligence I requested the facility produce the latest proof of the certification. Having not received the certificate a few weeks following the visit I nudged them again. After a third reminder I was informed by an operations manager that the certificate had expired. Possibly an honest mistake, but still, a false label.

The lesson for planners: request verification of any and all environmental claims made, especially ecolabels.

The lesson for destinations: ensure all certifications are up to date and able to be produced on demand. And if honest errors in representing labels are made ensure they are addressed right away to help restore buyer confidence.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Sonoran Sustainability, Scottsdale Style

Happy to welcome Scottsdale, AZ to the list of CVB's with notable sustainability initiatives. In addition to featuring a Green Vendor Directory, Green Meetings portal and Green by Design Awards for their members Scottsdale is innovating by researching and developing a sustainability toolkit.

The Scottsdale Green by Design Tool Kit is now available for purchase and offers ideas and tips for local businesses, schools and non-profits that are seeking to make decisions that are not only socially responsible but also good for the bottom line. Cost is $15 and 100 percent of the purchase price is donated to the Desert Discovery Center Fund, which is dedicated to creating a public access center at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Please contact Kelly Tope at ktope@scottsdalecvb.com or 480-889-2711 to order.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Green Destinations Featured on New Green Meetings Portal

In a first for the global meetings industry, the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) has announced the upcoming launch of the Green Meetings Portal, an online knowledge center that will bring together knowledge and breaking news from multiple face-to-face meetings on a single website.

Included on the portal is a special section for green destinations. The portal feeds and files articles and conference proceedings of interest - check it out!

Three cheers to the GMIC and The Conference Publishers for their work on the Portal!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Trash Challenge: A 10% Solution

The Green Meeting Industry Council has launched its 2009 Trash Challenge. The task? For the meetings industry to reduce its waste to landfill by 1 million tons. Sounds like a mountain, doesn't it?

Well, consider this: the GMIC estimates meetings in the USA produce 10.5 million tons of trash per year. If each of us recycled just 10% more, or reduced what we use at our meetings by 10% we could be there.

My commitment to the challenge is to find a 10% solution for each of the events I'm involved in. This will involve establishing the baseline measurements for each event and taking steps to reduce this baseline by 10%, through materials reduction and improved recycling.

I challenge all of you to engage the events being hosted in your destinations to embrace this challenge. For more information and to sign up to participate visit the GMIC Trash Challenge web site.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Sustainability Shortlist - update!

Several months back I posted a list of links to several online resources that planners can use to help shortlist cities for sustainability. Happened upon two more resources I wanted to add to that list from August 2008:

America's 50 Greenest Cities
This list does not directly consider sustainable meeting features, but does rank cities according to electricity, transportation, green living and waste management issues. Incidentally, 6 of the top 10 cities listed do have known green meeting initiatives: Portland, San Francisco, Boston, Eugene, Seattle and Chicago.

Smarter Travel Top 10 Green Destinations
Surprisingly, Portland, OR, tops this list as well. Again, not designed specifically with meetings in mind, this list may present some ideas for incentive and small group travel to urban and non-urban locales internationally.

Study reveals travelers distrust of 'green' claims

A newly released study by HSMAI and PhoCusWright Market Research indicates a desire of travelers to buy green, but a growing distrust of environmental claims.

  • More than four out of ten U.S. travelers (44%) consider environmental impact to be important to them when planning travel.
  • A majority of U.S. travelers (56%) are skeptical of what companies tell them about their green practices.
  • Just under a third of travelers indicate a willingness to pay some sort of premium for green travel.
  • Only 8% of green travelers believe it is easy to find green travel options.

The study can be purchased online. HSMAI press release can be found on their web site.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Melbourne Green Credentials

(Photo: Melbourne CVB)

Kudos to the Melbourne CVB for their Green Credentials Program! The CVB's new micro-site provides lists of top "green" incentive activities, sample itineraries and checklists for planning green events in the city. From a planner's perspective the most useful tool is likely their Green Partners Page, listing Green Credentials for accommodations, attractions, promotional materials, meeting venues, food and other specialty suppliers.

The cornerstone of the city's green meeting package is the Melbourne Convention Centre, due to open mid-2009. It is the first facility to be awarded a Six Star Green Star environmental rating by the Green Building Council of Australia.

Monday, 30 March 2009

The Lights Are Going Out - Even in Vegas

Over 4,000 cities in 88 countries worldwide participated in Earth Hour March 28, 2009. Did your vote count in demonstrating concern over climate change? When it comes to the impact of such an event a picture speaks a thousand words. Check out this photo essay to see the effect of lights on and off in many global destinations, from Las Vegas, to Rome, Lima, Sydney, Toronto and beyond. Click on each photo for the full effect.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Denver CVB Launches Carbon Calculator for Events

Visit Denver has become the latest CVB to offer a carbon calculator to meeting planners choosing the city as the host of their event programs. The calculator tabulates general conference information, data about attendee, organiser and supplier travel as well as waste. The calculator reports out emissions from each type of activity and provides a mechanism to offset the event footprint through the Colorado Carbon Fund.

Visit Denver is not the first CVB to 'go green' by providing a carbon offset partnership. Tourism Whistler launched a similar program in 2008 called Whistler EcoPath, which allows travelers to the ski resort to offset their trip.

Although offsetting is one way for planners and travelers to be accountable for those emissions they cannot avoid CVB's are also encouraged to present solutions that lead to actual emissions reductions. The Denver CVB is doing this through their green meetings micro site.