IMEX in Frankfurt is introducing several major new sustainability initiatives this year as it continues to innovate and encourage the industry to unite and contribute to greater environmental awareness and social responsibility.
Speaking just before Earth Day 2017 (22 April), Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group said: «Our approach to sustainability is both to lead by example and to shine a spotlight on key industry campaigns, for example, through our sponsorship of Positive Impact’s campaign to tell the story of the power of events during the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism 2017. We’re committed to supporting their target of 2 million shares of the hashtag #shareapositiveimpact, for instance. That means both before and during the show we’ll be inviting everyone to share photos or examples of good sustainable ideas, either in their home communities, on their travels or once they get to Frankfurt. We’re also championing the UNWTO’s call for Ambassadors. They need event pros who are prepared to step up, speak out and advocate sustainable events. In practice, we continually seek to develop innovative systems to reduce the ecological impact of our own use of resources and materials. We also encourage and make it easier for exhibitors and buyers to contribute in their own way. We work closely with our partners including GMIC, Messe Frankfurt, Meet Green and The Venetian®| The Palazzo® and the Sands Expo® in Las Vegas, to achieve this. It’s a lot of work, for them and for us, but we care and we believe it’s worth it».
Waste Watchers – a new call to reuse and recycle
A key new initiative at IMEX in Frankfurt (16- 18 May) will be Waste Watchers. Partnering with local non- government organisation ShoutOutLoud, the IMEX team has set up this programme to reduce waste by providing opportunities for everyone to re-use and recycle an extensive range of materials. Leftover food, furniture, stand graphics, flowers and stationery that would usually go to waste can be donated daily and will be distributed to those who need them with the help of a local food network and a refugee support group.
Saving trees, reducing paper
This year IMEX in Frankfurt is saving 2.7 tons of paper by not producing a printed Show Catalogue. Hosted buyers and visitor buyers will be able to find out full information about exhibitors and the vast range of education sessions available from a new Show Planner, by downloading and using the Show App and via the show website.
Printing badges on paper rather than card will further reduce the show’s environmental footprint, as will the use of hydroelectricity across the whole show. These innovations are additional to the many sustainability best practices and legacy initiatives which have become established at IMEX in Frankfurt over the years.
Learning from sustainability experts
IMEX also provides many opportunities for everyone to learn more about sustainability. Among the many sessions on offer will be: Global Destinations Sustainability Index: Driving Performance and Competitiveness, by Guy Bigwood of MCI. He’ll explain his company’s partnership with ICCA and how the Global Destinations Sustainability Index helps drive sustainable practices.
Founder of Positive Impact, Fiona Pelham, whose company has created a “bold year-long campaign” for 2017 will also talk about ‘The Power of Events in the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism’.
New IMEX GMIC Innovation in Sustainability Award
Also new this year is a new IMEX-GMIC Green Award – the Innovation in Sustainability Award. This is designed to highlight inspiring event professionals who are driving sustainability forwards through innovation, collaboration and idea sharing. It will be presented to the winner at the Gala Dinner at IMEX in Frankfurt.
Campaigns to reduce waste and encourage sustainability are also implemented at IMEX America and at the IMEX Group offices where in 2016 recycling saved the equivalent of 34 trees and 5,790kg of CO2.
The greening of IMEX America
At IMEX America 2016, the clear measure of the show’s continuing progress in sustainability was its APEX/ASTM score which increased for the 5th consecutive year to 90 per cent of level 1 standards. Decreasing paper use saved the equivalent of 13 trees, energy use per participant was down by 13 per cent and there was an 18 per cent decrease in total carbon emissions.
Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group comments: «IMEX has always been committed to supporting sustainable and socially responsible practices within the meetings industry, hence measuring our performance against the APEX/ASTM scores, which are tough! We will continue to provide education and awareness to suppliers and buyers within the industry to support the ongoing development of best practice. And we’ll keep on asking more of our partners and suppliers. This really is a game that you win by working together. And it’s one of the reasons why our new IMEX Group strapline is: We Are All Connected».
Two rising stars at IMEX are continuing the CSR conversation as part of #CSRshareDay, a global Twitter campaign taking place today. @IMEXMilda and @IMEXrog are sustainability champions within IMEX. Join them at 14.00 GMT as part of a live discussion on sustainability.