Hosts Global (Hosts) has made its largest client event into a case study for sustainability meeting planning.
Starting today and running until June 30, 2019, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, the 2019 Hosts Global Forum kicks off the company’s implementation of the Sustainable Meeting Planning Program (SMPP®), an event sustainability management system built to guide event planners in embedding sustainability in events and meetings in accordance with international industry standards.
“We want the 2019 Hosts Global Forum to be a case study for both our clients and our DMC members in attendance,” says Marty MacKay, DMCP, president of Hosts Global’s alliance of DMCs. “By delivering resources and an experience that showcases best practices, we’re hopeful that all our attendees will have the tools necessary to also initiate sustainable measures in their event planning activities.”
Complying with international industry standards
The SMPP® system of policies and procedures is the only ISO 20121 certified tool to help planners infuse a sustainability process into their events and project management. ISO 20121 is an international standard for sustainable event management created by the International Organization for Standardization.
The SMPP not only helps planners jumpstart compliance with the standard, but it also helps companies achieve ISO certification. And its framework for sustainability reached far beyond environmental concerns, involving factors relating to broader economic and social issues, including pouring business back into the local communities and focusing on the health and happiness of local workers.
“Sustainability isn’t something you ‘check off the list’. For us, it is continually striving to leave the most impact through our work and encouraging those around us to do the same.” ~ Marty MacKay
In its current effort to qualify for ISO certification through the production of its Hosts Global Forum, Hosts has integrated sustainability into the entire planning journey. Initiatives include:
- engaging Hosts Global Forum stakeholders by sending out a sustainability survey a month prior to the event;
- offering refillable water bottles and hydration stations to reduce plastic waste, plus coordinating a water bottle and supply donation program;
- planning a corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity to give back to the frontline hotel workers at the host resort, Paradisus Palma Real;
- requiring Paradisus Palma Real to complete a venue sustainability checklist;
- and fully leveraging their event app to ensure a predominantly paperless event.
“This is just the start of Hosts Global’s journey to becoming more conscious corporate citizens,” says MacKay. “Sustainability isn’t something you ‘check off the list’. For us, it is continually striving to leave the most impact through our work and encouraging those around us to do the same.”
To help attendees begin and build their event sustainability practices, Hosts partnered with the Events Industry Council (EIC) to offer its sustainability course in the days leading up to the Forum to interested attendees. Participants who completed the course received their Sustainable Event Professional Certificate.
Hosts also invited Suzanne Burke, the SMPP system creator, to lead an education session at the Forum. Burke will guide clients and Hosts’ DMC members on managing events in a responsible way and share the how-to’s of tracking and benchmarking events against industry standards.