by Matt Alderton | October 28, 2013
 Hoping to encourage more planners and venues to adopt sustainable meeting practices, the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) has launched a new campaign to promote the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards, it announced this week.

The new campaign — called “Ask for It!” — encourages meeting planners to ask their suppliers for sustainable practices, using the APEX/ASTM standards as a guide, and then certify their events to comply with the standards.

“Planners have the power and the ability to implement change and push the industry along,” GMIC Board Member Lindsay Arell, sustainable programs manager at the Colorado Convention Center, said in a statement. “The GMIC mission has always been to work to transform the event industry towards a more sustainable way of operating and a more responsible practice of managing and executing events. The ‘Ask for It’ campaign is one more step in fulfilling that mission.”

The APEX (Accepted Practices Exchange) initiative was launched in 2007 by the Convention Industry Council (CIC), which set out to create industry standards for environmentally sustainable events. Officially sanctioned by ASTM International — formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials — the completed standards include nine individual topic areas: Accommodations, Audio/Visual, Communication, Exhibits, Food and Beverage, On-Site Office, Destinations, Meeting Venue and Transportation. The standards were completed and published this year as both electronic and paper documents.

“While we have seen some early success in venues certifying against the standards, it is now time to scale up this effort and have planners ask for it when they are working with their venues and within their entire supply chains,” said GMIC Board Member and Past President Paul Salinger, vice president of marketing at Oracle. “We’ve seen that suppliers respond to demand when asked and that planners ask for it more when they see suppliers standing up and delivering the kinds of products needed to make sustainability a core practice of event planning.”

The “Ask for It” campaign has its own Facebook page and LinkedIn group, for planners who want more information.