by Stewart Moore, CEO, EarthCheck
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The MICE Sector and Responsible Meetings and Events
In the first part of this two part series, we introduced you to the size and economic importance of the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Events (MICE) sector in the Asia Pacific region. In that blog entry we looked at its direct and indirect economic contribution to host countries and the need to balance economic contributions with social and environmental considerations. We explained the simple steps that an event organiser or venue can take with EarthCheck to deliver more responsible and sustainable events and meetings.
Key steps in planning for and delivering a more responsible and sustainable event are summarised in the enclosed diagram. Step 1, the Planning step, outlines the need to develop a formal policy, to determine the scope of the event or meeting which is being held, to identify and actively engage with key stakeholders and to prepare an assessment of potential impact.
Outlined below is a brief overview of what potential impacts need to be considered together with some case studies on best practice.
Assessing potential Event Impacts
Once the scope of the event is better understood (this includes: event size, number of activities, single/multi-venues etc.), key planning and operational issues, including potential impacts, can be assessed.
An example of potential impacts can be seen at here. At their most basic level, impacts can include energy consumed to deliver the event, waste generated (such as displays, paper handouts and plastic water bottles), water consumed, the transport of goods, services and people to the event, and the type and source of products and services used at the event.
The case studies which follow each provide an example of how impacts can be factored in to pre-event planning. Impacts from transportation, for example, might include the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by attendees travelling to the event, which could potentially be offset or reduced through the promotion of alternative modes of transport. Energy consumption can be minimised on site through both the education of staff and service providers or by providing event spaces with energy efficient appliances including light fittings or natural ventilation rather than air conditioning.
The purchase of goods and services (procurement) can more sustainable by engaging with suppliers who meet higher standards of sustainability practices. Local sourcing of food stuffs for catering is one example of improving the sustainability of the event. This alone can reduce air miles, provide a social benefit to neighbouring communities, and improve the quality of food enjoyed by attendees.
Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC)
The BCEC provides a leading example of environmental stewardship in the MICE industry through its commitment to monitor its resource consumption, set improvement targets, and set in train action across it business to reduce its overall impact. BCEC is a Gold Certified member of the EarthCheck program.
The BCEC team use their internal AEG1EARTH program together with EarthCheck Certification as complimentary tools to monitor their overall resource use and identify opportunities to improve performance in tangible ways. In its core business, BCEC provides event organisers with the opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint of each event. Their customised carbon calculator is a first for an Australian convention centre. For those venues which don’t have access to a carbon calculator a free EarthCheck calculator can also be found on PATA sustain.
Recognising that sustainability is not just about measuring environmental impacts, the BCEC also takes their commitment to the broader Brisbane community seriously. The BCEC offers social programs focused on health, emergency relief, and social welfare which provide hard evidence of the commitment to ensure the community in which it operates shares the benefits of its operations.
The BCEC provides a leading example of global venues which operate at the highest standards and encourage their clients to adopt the sustainability ethos the Centre is committed to implementing daily. General Manager, Bob O’Keeffe, provides sustainability leadership which is crucial to the success of the various sustainability initiatives that have been implemented.
O’Keeffe said, “We have developed a culture at the Centre [BCEC] where we believe that as individuals and as an organisation we have an obligation to make choices that will reduce our impact on the environment and contribute to building more caring communities.”
The receipt of eleven awards in environmental stewardship support this commitment.
Eaton Hotel Hong Kong – Green Meetings by Eaton
The Eaton Hotel Hong Kong is already firmly focused on implementing sustainable practices into their daily operations. Eaton is an EarthCheck Gold Certified member, delivering year on year sustainable achievements for over five continuous years. The EarthCheck Certification recognises Eaton’s commitment to transparent and credible reporting against recognised international best practice standards. They have now applied those principles to their meeting packages.
Eaton have chosen to make Green Meetings the standard for all meetings held at the property. They have taken simple steps to ensure their meetings deliver a reduction in environmental and social impacts. Actions include Fair Trade Coffee Breaks, Low Carbon Menus, waste recycling programs, energy efficient air conditioning and management systems throughout the hotel and the provision of filtered water as a replacement for plastic water bottles.
Both the Low Carbon menus which are comprised of locally sourced ingredients and the provision of filtered water which is made available via a unique purification system provide a wonderful source of engagement with clients. By choosing to make green meetings the standard, team members adopt the principles of sustainability as part of their role profile, where it is no longer an added task, but rather the expected norm.
At EarthCheck we believe that Responsible Meetings can be achieved by taking simple steps, which once adopted can slowly become the norm. To guide event organisers in creating responsible and sustainable events, EarthCheck has just released EventCheck which provides a management framework and a planning process.
Read Part 1 of MICE and Sustainable Tourism in the Asia Pacific Region here.