Global Reporting Initiative Publishes New Guidelines for Green Events

Global Reporting Initiative Publishes New Guidelines for Green Events

Event organizers can now report on sustainability issues like impacts on communities, natural environments, and local and global economies, thanks to new guidance just published by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) helped developed the guidance as part of a multi-stakeholder Working Group and Advisory Group.

The events sector is diverse: its activities range from business meetings, conferences, and exhibitions to sports and cultural festivals -- all of which have impacts on the economy, environment and society. These impacts need to be considered, measured and shared in order to improve the sustainability performance of the events industry.

The new Event Organizers Sector Supplement (EOSS) will enable event organizers to report their sustainability performance in a comparable way. The sustainability reporting guidance, tailored for the events sector, aims to make reporting more relevant for event organizers by defining how to provide qualitative and quantitative information on sustainability issues. In addition to more widely applicable issues such as greenhouse gas emissions and waste, the guidance helps event organizers report on more specific issues including attendee travel, legacy of the event, and initiatives taken at the event to promote sustainability and transparency.

Will Encourage Transparency About Activities' Impact

"Over the last 10 years there has been a growing interest in the greening of events, with more and more organizations considering the sustainability performance of their activities," said Maaike Fleur, senior manager Reporting Framework at the Global Reporting Initiative. "Public sustainability reporting is still quite a new concept for event organizers, but we anticipate that this new guidance will help them be more transparent about the impacts of their activities."

"Reporting is also about sharing best practices and can enhance learning for event organizers not yet so familiar with sustainability strategy and reporting," Fleur added. "Attendees are interested to know the sustainability strategies behind events. Events are a significant business investment so it is vital that we start measuring and reporting sustainability impacts if we are to move to a sustainable global economy."

The Event Organizers Sector Supplement provides reporting guidance that is suitable for all types and sizes of events. The guidance covers the complete project lifecycle of an event, from bid to planning, execution and, finally, post-event -- including the issue of event legacy. The Supplement can be used to report before or after an event has taken place.

"Transparent reporting is fundamental to organization success and growth," said Sebastien Tondeur, CEO of MCI and chairman of Meeting Professionals International (MPI). "GRI provides the most widely used guidelines for sustainability reporting. With the GRI Framework, including the sector-specific guidance, it will be easier for the events industry to provide transparent information on the sustainability strategies and performance of their organizations and events. The Sector Supplement is already helping both MCI and MPI to improve their sustainability initiatives."

Will Play Role in London 2012 Games

"Sustainability is an integral consideration in planning and delivering the London 2012 Games," said Phil Cumming, corporate sustainability manager at London 2012. "Our vision is to use the power of the Games to inspire lasting change. We want to set new standards and create a powerful knowledge legacy for more sustainable event management. GRI's Event Organizers Sector Supplement will play a key role in achieving these aims."

"The release of the Event Organizers Sector Supplement through the Global Reporting Initiative, which is the global standard for corporate sustainability reporting, gives an enormous boost to the credibility, materiality and relevance of sustainability reporting for meetings and events," said Paul Salinger, VP marketing Oracle, and president of GMIC. "Sir Isaac Newton's famous words hold true for the future of the GMIC and its mandate of inspiring sustainability: 'If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.' The GRI Event Organizers Sector Supplement provides those shoulders for us, and for all with the vision of sustainability in meetings and events."

Meegan Jones, Working Group member, president of Sustainable Event Alliance and previously Greening Consultant for the global concert Live Earth, said, "It has been a privilege to be a part of the Working Group for the Event Organizers Sector Supplement. The events industry has been in need of such guidance for a long time now and this can only mean a step in the right direction -- towards a more transparent and sustainable industry."

The Supplement was developed according to a multi-stakeholder process. Volunteers from events companies, governments, labor and civil society organizations were brought together in a Working Group to develop the guidance. The public then responded to two Public Comment Periods, before the Working Group took the consultation feedback into account and finalized the Supplement.

This article originally appeared on Green Lodging News.

Meeting photo via Shutterstock.