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Sustainability at IMEX America: The Actual Numbers

As the 2022 edition kicks off in Las Vegas, data from the 2021 show demonstrates just how much of a difference a dedicated effort makes across a single event.

More than 10,000 people are expected to be at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center October 10 to 14 for the 10th edition of IMEX America, the largest trade show in the U.S. for the global meetings, events, and incentive-travel industry.

As an educational conference in addition to a trade show—Smart Monday Powered by MPI offers more than 50 learning sessions, while the show floor offers more than 100 more from Tuesday to Thursday—IMEX America has several breakouts that focus on environmental sustainability for meetings and events.

To provide understanding of why planners should take seriously the idea that their sustainability efforts make a real difference for every one of their events large and small, IMEX America’s organizers recently released their resource-use and -savings numbers from last year’s gathering. Below is just a sampling of what's in the complete 28-page report.

The full report details the show’s energy use, water consumption, and food and beverage consumption versus previous years, along with its degree of waste diversion and other elements of sustainability. For example, the report chronicles a 95 percent landfill-diversion rate for the 2021 IMEX America show (its best rate ever), including 15,341 kilograms (34,000 pounds) of plastics recycled.

Another large-scale business event that recently demonstrated what can be achieved from a sustainability effort was Dreamforce, run by More than 40,000 people attended the late September event in San Francisco, and its use of only “climate-friendly” meals—no beef, pork, or almonds, all of which require huge amounts of water to produce—saved more than 10 million gallons of water. For perspective, that’s the water usage of 100,000 U.S. residents in a day.

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