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CIC urges government to consider sustainable meeting standards

The Convention Industry Council (CIC) responded today to President Obama’s call for reducing travel by government employees as a means to reduce greenhouse gases from indirect sources.

“Simply reducing travel as a way of reaching greenhouse gas targets is not a holistic solution and will not encourage real progress toward sustainable travel and meetings,” said Karen Kotowski, CEO of CIC. “Government agencies can manage and reduce the impacts of travel and meetings by using standards such as those being promulgated by CIC, the pending CIC/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards, rather than a blanket call to reduce travel to meetings. Those standards will give government agencies the specific and measurable road map needed to accomplish the goals of executive order 13514 to improve sustainability and foster markets for sustainable technologies, products, and services.”

CIC’s draft standards are the result of 18 months of development work by its APEX initiative, and have been developed with participation from officials from government, government meeting planners and the meetings industry at large.

The standards cover a large scope of the meeting supply chain, including transportation, destinations, accommodations, meeting venue, audio visual technology, exhibitions, onsite office operations, food and beverage, and marketing communications material. 

Representatives from the EPA have participated in the development of each of the standards.  

“As we have moved through this process, the input from EPA staff has made the standards even stronger. We look forward to their completion over the next several months and would urge government agencies to use the published standards when developing their sustainability plans. Adopting the standards once they are released will provide a substantive means to reduce the environmental impact from meetings and travel, yet still facilitate the full range of activity necessary to accomplish the business of government,” said Kotowski.  

The published standards are expected later this year after final approval through ASTM International’s standards process.

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