The US Green Building Council (USGBC) was announced as winner of the large meeting category of the IMEX Green Meeting Awards, presented at the IMEX Gala Dinner last night. The Award recognized its Greenbuild International Conference and Expo 2011, making the USGBC a record four-time IMEX Award winner, having won previously in 2004, 2006, and 2009.
Taking the award in the small to medium green meeting category was KPMG for its Climate Change and Sustainability Global Summit, which was held in New York City in February this year.
Presenting the awards, IMEX Group Chairman, Ray Bloom, offered high praise to both of the organizations. USGBC was commended for its delivery of green and CSR initiatives, while the KPMG summit was recognized for attracting 600 top Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and senior business leaders from 43 countries and from many of the world’s major corporations, along with key policymakers to its Climate Change Summit.
The IMEX Green Meetings Award is presented annually in partnership with the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC). The award sets stringent standards, judging applicants against their ability to demonstrate innovative efforts to significantly minimize the environmental impact of a meeting or conference. Senior industry experts judge the entries by examining a variety of success measures. They include energy efficiency, air and water quality, water conservation, waste minimization, and environmental purchasing criteria. Judges also ask applicants to explain their economic indicators, if and how their meeting helped commitment to change within the local community, and also how it aided conservation.
“We are humbled to be recognized for our fourth prestigious IMEX Award, for Greenbuild 2011, which was the culmination of a decade of tremendous growth, learning, success, and a commitment to resiliency,” said Kimberly Lewis, Senior Vice President, Community Advancement, Conferences and Events for the US Green Building Council.
“In 2011, Greenbuild embraced the spirit of resiliency with faith that the green building movement has the power to jump-start fragile and struggling economies, and in 2012 we are looking forward to writing the next chapter of our conference greening story in San Francisco. As always, opportunities remain for large events to reduce their environmental footprint while leaving positive social impacts, and USGBC and Greenbuild is committed to doing our part in paving the way,” stated Lewis.
In the case of the USGBC, the judges were particularly impressed with the way attendees were fully involved in the program, with real-time consumption information displayed outside the Greenbuild exhibit hall to enable visitors to better understand the environmental impact of the show. Energy consumption levels at Greenbuild venues decreased by 33 percent between 2010 and 2011.
Partner hotels were also fully integrated into the program. All 10 partner hotels used energy‐efficient lighting and had staff turn off guestroom appliances and shut blinds or curtains when rooms were unoccupied; 90 percent of partner hotels also set air-conditioning systems to seasonally-efficient temperatures. Judges were also pleased to note measures introduced to improve air and water quality, some of which included the removal of hotel shuttle buses for the first time, eliminating approximately 11,000 gallons of fuel used during the event and reducing its carbon footprint by over 20 metric tons.
Accepting the small to medium Green Meeting Award on behalf of KPMG was Brigid Breen, Manager, KPMG US Events & Meetings, who said: “It is truly a distinct honor to be recognized by IMEX as the recipient of this Green Meeting award, underscoring the importance of applying a sustainability lens to all aspects of business. At KPMG, we embrace sustainability as a core business practice and are committed to driving sustainable business growth. We certainly appreciate the efforts of our meetings and events group in meeting our sustainability goals and are very pleased with this global recognition for their efforts.”
The KPMG Summit included recommendations for businesses to reduce focus on short-term performance in favor of longer-term sustainable growth and adopting sustainability targets for water, energy, and material usage in order to drive innovation.
Judges highly commended the procedures implemented by KPMG at the summit to drive sustainability, which included offsetting or mitigating the greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere as a result of the event’s measurable air travel and venue carbon dioxide emissions. A few key examples of the sustainable strategy taken on both the planning and execution of the summit included summit meals complied with a 100-mile radius featuring locally-grown selections produced with sustainable farming methods; the creation of a Conference Mobile Application which avoided excessive paper usage; and leftover prepared food was donated to Second Harvest Food Bank. The venue also completed an Environmental RFP Questionnaire in the RFP phase of the program indicating they were able to produce a post-summit Meeting Impact Report Card, which spoke to measurable metrics in the areas of waste reduction, energy efficiency, and water reduction.
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