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In planning and hosting IMEX America 2012, a major goal for show organizers Regent Exhibitions was to strike a healthful balance between tradeshow growth, event quality and a responsibility to the environment and the local Las Vegas community.

Officials for the IMEX Group recently announced its audited sustainability results from IMEX America 2012, which have been compiled by its sustainability partner, MeetGreen. They show IMEX America 2012 achieved 63 percent compliance with the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards, Level 1.

“Creating a more sustainable show is a long road but a worthwhile one,” said Carina Bauer CEO of the IMEX Group. “It takes plans and processes but most importantly people across every role, job and vested organization to make change happen. Learning and bumps are all part of the experience, as sustainability is never truly ‘finished.’ It’s exciting to see our industry working towards stronger stewardship and to be a part of such progressive action. We’re keen to share our experiences in an open and transparent way so that others can learn from them.”

Meant to serve as a benchmark for future IMEX America shows and provide a highly transparent, leading example of what the exhibition and events industry can do to positively change sustainability and CSR practices, the report shows strong performance in several key areas including:

  • 87.5 percent of exhibit waste from the Sands Expo and Convention Center diverted from landfills and 72 percent in total diverted when combined with show-related events and meetings held at The Venetian/The Palazzo.
  • 40 percent of food served at The Venetian/The Palazzo and the Sands Expo and Convention Center met sustainability criteria.
  • 12 metric tons of organics and service waste was composted by The Venetian/The Palazzo and the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
  • 94 percent of the total carpet on show floor was reused from previous events.
  • 63 staff and attendee volunteer hours donated to serve Las Vegas non-profits – Clean the World, Opportunity Village and Shade Tree in addition to $5,000 also raised for Opportunity Village and Shade Tree through the IMEX badge-back program.
  • 1,861 kilograms of show food and exposition materials donated to local charities.

Working with Clean the World, attendees sorted used hotel soaps and bottled amenities for recycling and donation – 300 hygiene kits donated to The Shade Tree.Working closely with partners MeetGreen, IMEX America’s sustainability efforts were the result of a solid strategy brought to life by close teamwork and a shared commitment between IMEX and its suppliers, especially the teams at the trade show’s venue, the Sands Expo and Convention Center and its host hotels.

The strategic approach was based on six key areas guided by ISO 20121 and the APEX/ASTM standards. These included a clearly defined vision and mobilized team; specific, measurable and time-bound goals to define success; clear targets to enable continuous improvement; engagement of key stakeholders; understanding of issues and risks; controls to communicate expectations and facilitate feedback.

All of the moving parts and data points of the show, more than 300, were factored into the APEX/ASTM standards through an in-depth review of criteria categories. These criteria categories or sectors included System and Policy, Destination, Venue, Food and Beverage, Exhibits, Transportation, Onsite, Communication and Audio Visual.
IMEX America is a worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events and is the largest tradeshow for the industry in the United States. The third edition is scheduled at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas Oct 15-17.

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