Reposted by kfm. Original by Magazine •

E-Interview with leading panelists:

Shawna McKinley
Director of Sustainability for MeetGreen®

Ginny Stratton
Principal of Strategin Solutions

ISES Vancouver had the pleasure of hosting a group of expert panelists in a discussion on sustainable event standards, as the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) gears up to launch their ‘Sustainability in Event Management’ Standard (ISO 20121) in 2012. “While the event industry offers valuable educational, social, and economic benefits”, Heather Baker, VP Programs for ISES Vancouver, explains, “the organization of these events can generate considerable waste and cause environmental harm”. We asked panelists Shawna and Ginny to provide their perspective on this crucial topic.

What initiatives do you hope to establish under the new ISO Standards?

Shawna McKinley “MeetGreen already operates a BS 8901-compliant management system for sustainable events. As this standard was the foundation of the ISO standard so we hope this will prepare us to comply with the new international requirements once they are adopted.” Ginny Stratton “Widespread use of the ISO 20121 standard will provide the Canadian event industry the opportunity to position itself as a leader in event sustainability.”

Will the standards be structured to roll out in stages set over a period of years or one single initiative?

Shawna McKinley “
They actually all seem to be hitting at once, which I think is making it a bit overwhelming for professionals! My experience with BS 8901 has been that it is not productive to try to change your business or event over-night to comply with it. You really need to have a long-term commitment to the process and engage people in how they want to see it roll out. In terms of the APEX-ASTM standard it does have a four-level structure,
which you can choose to gradually implement.”

Ginny Stratton “ISO 20121 is currently in its final phases of development and its release is set to coincide with the London 2012 Summer Olympics. As part of the final development phase, the ISO 20121 Draft International Standard (DIS) will be released for public comment in April of this year.

The public will have five months to review the standard and submit comments. For information on this process, you can check out the ISO 20121 website or contact local event sustainability management specialists such as Strategin Solutions or MeetGreen

How will certification impact private and corporate functions?

Shawna McKinley “Not all of the standards include a certification. Some do, some do not. Those that do may be selfcertified, or may require independent certification or provide options for both. It seems that certification is an important driver for people to comply with the standards. LEED is a perfect example of this – it is a huge coup for the Vancouver Convention Centre to achieve the Platinum designation. The independent certification provides validation that can be used in marketing. This kind of validation can be important to combat green washing concerns, which consumers often experience related to environmental claims.”

Will there be penalties or fees for non-compliance? And if so, who will enforce it?

Ginny Stratton “Pursuit of compliance with ISO 20121 is voluntary. It is designed to be used by organizations across the event supply chain, including event organizers, venues, and suppliers of event related goods and services, to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable development and event sustainability and to report on performance. Users of the standard may voluntarily claim compliance with the standard, or may pursue second or third party verification.“

Where can event and meeting professionals get the information they need to create events according to the ISO standard policy?

Shawna McKinley “There is a Linkedin group that is helping to disseminate information about the standard. Anyone can apply to listen and contribute to the group.”

Ginny Stratton “The ISO 20121 standard will include guidance for use, but local event sustainability management specialists and industry associations will also provide a wealth of information to assist event and meeting professionals.”

Thank you Shawna and Ginny for taking the time to provide us with your insight and extra special gratitude to Karran Finlay, VP Sponsorship, ISES Vancouver and President of Karran Finlay Marketing (kfm), for allowing us the opportunity to connect and learn.

Issue 22
CEP22.pdf page 24 & 25 of 36

Event Planning , Green Marketing , Vancouver
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