Sustainability Takes Center Stage as New Reporting Guidance is Launched
Event organizers can now report on sustainability issues like impacts on communities, natural environments, and local and global economies, thanks to new guidance published today (Tuesday 24 January 2012) by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). 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.
Today's 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.
Maaike Fleur, Senior Manager Reporting Framework at the Global Reporting Initiative, said: "Over the last ten years there has been a growing interest in the 'greening' of events, with more and more organizations considering the sustainability performance of their activities. 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. 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," added Fleur.
The Event Organizers Sector Supplement provides reporting guidance that is suitable for all types and sizes of events. The guidance covers the complete project life cycle 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.
According to Sebastien Tondeur, CEO of MCI and Chairman of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), "transparent reporting is fundamental to organization success and growth. 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."
"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."
Paul Salinger, VP Marketing Oracle, President of the Green Meeting Industry Council comments "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. 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 organizer's 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.
About the Global Reporting Initiative
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) produces a comprehensive Sustainability Reporting Framework that is widely used around the world, to enable greater organizational transparency. The Framework, including the Reporting Guidelines, sets out the Principles and Indicators organizations can use to report their economic, environmental, and social performance. GRI is committed to continuously improving and increasing the use of the Guidelines, which are freely available to the public. For more information go to www.globalreporting.org.
The Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) is the premier global community solely dedicated to sustainability not only through education but also by spearheading research, policy and standards for the meetings and event industry. The GMIC is an active member of the Convention Industry Council and is committed to helping leaders of all levels advance towards sustainability. For more information go to www.gmicglobal.org.