Sustainability, currently the global trending topic, assumes key significance for the Meetings, Events and the Trade Show Industry. Shekhar, shares an Indian and the Global perspective
Shekhar | Editor | MICE INDIA | 31 March 2018
Sustainability – Data and Numbers
The Meetings and Trade Shows Industry in the US shockingly generates in excess of 600,000 tons of waste every year (Pricewaterhouse Coopers study of the Economic Significance of Meetings to the US economy). The Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC) fairly and squarely blames the Meetings and Trade Shows Industry as second largest producer of waste in the US. The Republic Services, world’s second largest non-hazardous waste collection and recycling company, shares that it collects over 5,000 tons of waste annually from Convention Centres in Las Vegas. Leading Industry shows like the IMEX and IBTM in the past have had over 200 tons of waste collected from the show floor in a 03 day event.
For an industry which has shown the world, the power of meetings, the power of networking and transacting at a common platform, producing waste of this size, shows all the signs of irresponsibility towards the environment.
Sustainability ‘Action Now’
Yes, certainly the situation is grave and demands immediate intense action. At a global level, where the MICE and Events markets are more mature, or where governments have initiated a legislative for strong action (like Gothenburg, Melbourne), the situation is far better. But in markets not so mature, like India and the upcoming destinations, there is an immediate need to address the challenge.
Mature markets which have understood the long-term perspective of the issue of Sustainability and therefore imbibed it to the core, are already experiencing the direct benefits Sustainability can bring to the destination.
Sustainability and India
The Meetings and Trade Shows Industry in India is still young and lacks experience which more mature markets exhibit. While the world has moved ahead from taking the Conventional Initiatives (like USBs) for Sustainability to more Modern Initiatives (like Recycling); from Innovative initiatives (like Towel re-use program, direct flights, NO to plastic bottled water and more) to strict Food Initiatives (like Vegetarian only, Organic, Local Wine and Beer and more); from Infrastructure Initiatives (like Glass façade for natural light, solar panels) to Tough ones like 100% Paperless Meeting and more; India as a upcoming MICE, Events, Meetings and Trade Shows destination, is way behind many of these aspects.
But global Hotels brands (like Starwood, Marriott, Accor, Carlson Group and more) have started to take cognizance of the same and have adopted globally accepted Best Practices for the Indian markets as well.
Destinations, Convention Bureaus, Hotels, Convention Centres are all pepped-up to completely transform the Events landscape in time to come, with stringent policies for Sustainability in the Meetings and Trade Shows Industry.
Food for thought: Are Meetings Planners ready to pay a Premium today, to Destinations, Hotels and the likes, if they are Green Certified or who have Sustainability as a philosophy?
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