Meeting Mentor Magazine

June 2023

CIC’s State of Sustainability Study
Shows Progress and Confusion

The Convention Industry Council (CIC) has released a study that finds suppliers are leading the way when it comes to sustainable practices at events, and that both planners and suppliers want a simplified, common set of metrics to measure sustainability.

“This suggests that both sides of the discussion can work on quantifying and communicating the financial as well as the non-financial benefits of sustainable practices to the company, the environment and to society,” said Roger Simons, CMP, Leadership Committee Chair for the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC), in a statement released in October along with the study.

GMIC, which is now part of CIC, commissioned “Sustainable Meeting and Event Practices: The State of the Industry.” The study is based on research conducted by the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Other key findings of the study:

• Planners’ most requested sustainable practices are (in order frequency): sorting recyclables, vegetarian menu options, allergy-friendly menus, energy-efficient lighting, local food sourcing, use of water glasses and filling stations, donating leftover food, linen and towel reuse programs, offering volunteer projects for meeting attendees, diverting food waste from waste streams and using meeting apps to reduce paper waste.

• Meeting professionals want suppliers to include sustainable practices at the RFP stage without having to ask about them. They also don’t want to pay for sustainable practices, but expect their suppliers to absorb these costs because most of the actions will ultimately save the supplier money.

• About 20-to-25 percent of the customers and third-party planners track metrics related to sustainability. Suppliers do most of the tracking and track many more metrics. Areas where suppliers lead in tracking metrics include: waste stream diversion rate, quality/weight of materials to be composted, hours donated to community service in event location and weight of materials diverted from the waste stream.

• CIC’s APEX/ASTM certification program in sustainable practices is “highly credible and well-respected.” But not enough people know about the certification and the requirements for the nine areas that it covers. Barriers to obtaining the certification include cost, complexity and lack of time.
Regina McGee

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