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by Sarah J.F. Braley | March 1, 2016

Last week, the Convention Industry Council -- the governing body representing 33 member organizations, more than 103,500 individuals, and 19,500 firms and properties involved in the meetings, conventions and exhibitions industry -- and the Green Meetings Industry Council announced that the GMIC will become a council of the CIC.

This does not mean that the GMIC is just now coming under the CIC's umbrella -- it was already part of the CIC as a member organization.

"The GMIC will now be part of the CIC as a program area, like the CMP or the APEX initiative within the organization," said Karen Kotwoski, CMP, president and CEO of the CIC. The GMIC's mandate will be to advocate for pro-sustainability issues and provide education on same for the CIC's members.

Kotowski said the two organizations started talking about the possibilities of merging the green meetings group into the CIC last summer. The GMIC "had parted ways with their association management company and were looking for some other management options," she noted. "We talked about some synergies. They wanted to work with all industry organizations, and the CIC is kind of that neutral ground where we work together on issues like best practices and education. This seemed like a good extension of that."

Founded in 2003 by Amy Spatrisano, CMP, and Nancy Zavada, CMP, of what was then Portland, Ore.-based Meeting Strategies Worldwide and is now MeetGreen, the GMIC has dedicated itself to improving the environmental, social, and community performance of meetings and events through education and advocacy.

"We're going to integrate them in everything that we do," Kotowski says. "As we are marketing all of our programs, we'll see where we can integrate the GMIC, see where the crossovers are in the audiences and integrate the sustainability messages where appropriate."

The CIC and the GMIC have worked together before. The GMIC was instrumental in developing green standards for the meetings industry through the CIC's APEX Initiative, publishing first a white paper on green-meeting practices, authored by a task force that was headed by Spatrisano, and then developing the APEX/ASTM Sustainable Meetings Standards that came out in 2012.

While the GMIC will not be a separate association anymore, it will have its own global leadership council, just like the CIC and APEX programs do. The leadership will be nominated and elected, and will then help staff prioritize programs and develop new programs. It will no longer have members; Kotowski said the CIC will move toward a model where people and organizations will contribute to support the council and all the programs that the GMIC has developed and will continue to develop for the industry.

As for the GMIC's annual Sustainable Meetings Conference, it will be co-located with the CIC Conclave, to be held in September in Baltimore.

"I think there's a lot of great opportunities here," said Kotowski. "We'll continue to build on the GMIC's successes and advance the discussion throughout the communities within the CIC structure."