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GRI announces new sustainability guidance

GMICEvent organizers can now report on sustainability issues like impacts on communities, natural environments, and local and global economies, thanks to new guidance published 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.

“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,” 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.”

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.

“Reporting is also about sharing best practices and can enhance learning for event organizers not yet so familiar with sustainability strategy and reporting,” said Fleur. “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 EOSS 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.

“Transparent reporting is fundamental to organization success and growth. GRI provides the most widely used guidelines for sustainability reporting,” said Sebastien Tondeur, CEO of MCI and Chairman of Meeting Professionals International (MPI). “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.

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.

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