The IMEX Group has announced that its Talking Point for 2020 and 2021 is “Nature,” a theme that will be explored in the company’s largest-ever research study, which will be conducted with the exclusive support of Marriott International.
“In choosing ‘Nature’ as our Talking Point we’ve taken a big, bold step. It’s a rallying cry for us all to do more to save the planet, to protect, conserve and help regenerate natural resources and species,” explains Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group. “At IMEX, we have strong sustainability values, both within the business and across both of our shows. Environmentally-friendly principles have underpinned our shows since the launch of the first IMEX in Frankfurt 17 years ago.”
Tammy Routh, senior vice-president, Global Sales, Marriott, says, “Given the growing importance of sustainability for our industry, customers and the communities we all engage with, we are thrilled to be supporting IMEX’s important research for the global business events community. It comes as our company deepens its commitment to our sustainability goals, such as reducing landfill waste by 45 percent by 2025. We look foorward to continuing the conversation in the next two years.”
Marriott’s support of the initiative comes as the global hotel company works to make its operations worldwide more sustainable. In July 2018, for example, it phased out the automatic offering of plastic strawas in all of its hotels across its brand including The Ritz-Carlton, Westin, Moxy and Courtyard by Marriott. And last August, it launched a worldwide initiative across all its brand aimed it phasing out single-use toiletry bottles in guestroom showers and replacing them larger-sized, easily recycled bottles.
Nature: What we can do for nature and what nature can do for us
Over the course of the next two years, IMEX will work with community and partners worldwide to bring the Nature Talking Point to life in ways that drive its mission of uniting and advancing the global business events industry.
During the same time period, Marriott will back a series of industry research studies, the results of which will be offered free of charge to industry professionals and supplement the content at IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America with education, activations and a range of curated experiences.
The research effort will be led by Guy Bigwood, managing director of the Global Destination Sustainability Index, a destination level program that measures, benchmarks and improves the sustainability strategy and performance of meetings, events and business tourism destinations. Bigwood’s team will produce three extensive and detailed pieces of research aimed at:
- providing tangible insights to planners;
- delivering the inspiration and hands-on resources planners need to make their events more sustainable;
- and strategic direction for directors and the C-suite.
Concurrently, IMEX will promote the value and importance of urban and built environments as well as natural landscapes and habitats, under the banner “Magical Places & Spaces.”
In addition, IMEX exhibitors and speakers will be sharing stories and case studies that exemplify the innate human connection to nature (biophilia) and design based on biological principles (biomimicry).
The first report, due out at IMEX Frankfurt in May, will introduce and examine the principles of the circular economy. In phase two, well-known academic and industry research partner Janet Sperstad, CMP at Madison College, will present practical insights based on “Nature – An ecosystem for event success.”
“It’s easy to overlook or not even realize the wisdom of nature and how much she has to teach us,” says Bauer. “Nature can also help us to design events, unlocking creativity and boost our abilities to solve complex challenges and increase event results.”