At a press conference held September 10 at the IMEX America show in Las Vegas, the Events Industry Council announced the creation of a new EIC Centre for Sustainable Events in partnership with, among other entities, IMEX Group, the United Nations, Freeman, and MGM Resorts International.
The Centre will be its own digital entity and focus its efforts on outreach, education, and resources for meeting and event planners. One of the main initiatives from the Centre are the updated EIC Sustainable Event Standards, formerly the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards. The Centre will also undertake research into measuring and creating metrics and benchmarks that will help the events industry measure the impact of its sustainability efforts. EIC Director of Industry Advancement, Mariela McIlwraith, will have day-to-day oversight of the Centre with the EIC sustainability committee.
At the launch, Tina Wehmeir, CMP, CAE, EIC’s board chair said, “This is a proud day for EIC, and we can make even more of an impact on sustainability together.” Yalmaz Siddiqui, vice president of corporate sustainability at MGM Resorts International, pledged that to encourage the adoption of the EIC standards in the industry, MGM’s five main conference venues will adopt them immediately and provide feedback and updates on their progress.
IMEX Group CEO Carina Bauer outlined the success IMEX has already had in its sustainability efforts. “We run both our [Frankfurt and Las Vegas] shows on renewable energy at their venues as well as having broader aims to reduce the use of plastics. We have also reduced waste sent to landfills to zero in Frankfurt and we are down to three percent in Las Vegas.”
The most urgent comments at the launch came from U.N. Program Manager Miguel Naranjo, who said, “Sustainable events are the only way to ensure that this business will continue to exist. We should do it not because it is nice, or good p.r.; it is the key to the survival of our business.” He added that “we have potentially 12 years before we reach an increase of 1.5 degrees of global warming. Beyond 1.5 degrees would pose a real challenge for humanity to face, and 12 years is the blink of an eye.”