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by Sarah J.F. Braley | April 01, 2012

The American Society for Testing and Materials Inter­na­tional has published eight of the nine green meetings standards it has been developing over the past four years with the Convention Industry Council's Accepted Practices Exchange.

Now available to the meetings industry are extremely detailed standards for green meetings, covering the key areas of A/V, communication and marketing materials, destinations, exhibits, F&B, meeting venues, on-site offices, and transportation. The final standard, on accommodations, is expected to be published in the summer.

"The publishing of the standards has been very gratifying for the more than 300 industry volunteers who worked on them," said Lawrence Leonard, COO of the CIC, who in particular cited industry consultant Sue Tinnish, who headed up the ASTM efforts, and Amy Spatrisano, principal of MeetGreen in Portland, Ore., and chair of the CIC's APEX Sustainability Committee. "It's been so gratifying for them to see the thousands of hours they put in come to fruition."

Leonard added, "The volunteer effort that went into this is new territory for our industry, but it's an important step for us to take. It reflects the ongoing maturation of the meetings industry and of the meeting professional."

The standards initially were proposed by the Green Meetings Industry Council in ongoing discussions with the United States Environmental Protection Agency. In July 2008, as the process became more involved, the CIC committee began working with ASTM, a voluntary standards-development organization.  

Each of the standards addresses staff management and environmental policy, communications, waste, energy, air quality, water, procurement and community partners. They are available for $40 to $46 each through ASTM International; after the ninth is complete, a compilation will be made available. ASTM members will get one free volume of all nine standards with their membership dues. For more information on the standards, ordering information and a list of the volunteers who contributed to the project, visit bit.ly/y7Tc7x.

The GMIC already has educated dozens of people to train others on the standards. The Portland, Ore.-based group plans to develop education by 2014 to help meeting professionals apply these and other standards. "The industry needs a one-stop resource to help planners and decision-makers understand the standards, decide which ones to use for different purposes, and get on with the job," said Tamara Kennedy-Hill, CMP, executive director of the GMIC.