When sustainability meets the events industry the terminology grows to a point where we all need help. Help is here in the form of a glossary we have compiled over many years and contains both event and sustainability terminology. If you would like an extensive list of general event management terms, you can visit the CIC APEX Industry Glossary.
Any regulations pertaining to making facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. For example, ramps for wheelchair access.
Air Quality Monitoring
Any monitoring undertaken by a facility or third-party organization that reviews air quality.
Alternative fuels include a wide range of fuel types including biofuels derived from corn, soy and recycled cooking oils, ethanol blended fuel, biodiesel, bioalcohol (methanol, ethanol, butanol), chemically stored electricity (batteries and fuel cells), hydrogen, non-fossil methane, non-fossil natural gas, vegetable oil and other biomass sources.
APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards
The industry’s first and only comprehensive standards for environmentally sustainable meetings were created through a partnership of CIC’s APEX initiative and the American Society for Testing and Materials International.
Inks which can be dissolved by water instead of solvents.
Capable of being broken down by natural processes, such as bacterial action.
A clean burning, alternative fuel derived from animal fats or vegetable oil that can be used in diesel-burning engines. It does not contain petroleum products, but may be blended with petroleum-based diesel.
Bio-Preferred focuses on use of bio-based materials. It is a USDA designation that encourages purchase of products made with agricultural materials such as soy, corn, sugar cane, et cetera. Bio-Preferred content requirements range from 7 percent to 95 percent bio-based materials depending on the product sub-category. Purchasing Bio-Preferred items can help agencies support farmers and encourage manufacturers to use alternatives to synthetic chemicals. http://www.biopreferred.gov/
Any materials that include the host organization and/or event name and logo (if available).
A heavy, colorless gas that does not support combustion. Made of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms, it is formed especially in animal respiration and in the decay or combustion of animal and vegetable matter. It is absorbed by plants in photosynthesis and is an atmospheric greenhouse gas.
A measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of green house gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide equivalents.
A way of counteracting the carbon emitted when the use of fossil fuel causes greenhouse gas emissions. Offsets commonly involve investing in projects such as renewable energy, tree planting and energy efficient projects.
A long-term change in the earth’s climate, especially a change due to an increase in the average atmospheric temperature: Melting glaciers imply that life in the Arctic is affected by climate change.
Products or services that reduce and offset the greenhouse gases generated at each stage of their life cycle on a cradle-to-grave basis: the sourcing of their materials, their manufacturing or production, their distribution, use, and ultimate end-of-life disposition.
Commercial composting may include compost hauling or on-site composting facilities at businesses. Select the option that most closely matches the availability of commercial composting at the location of your event.
Commercial recycling refers to recycling programs and hauling that are available to businesses, as opposed to residential programs. Select the option that most closely matches the availability of commercial recycling at the location of your event.
Community projects include any projects which give back directly to the community of the location where the event is being hosted. These can include one time volunteer projects or legacy projects, which have a longer term impact on the community. Legacy projects can be things such as establishing educational programs, raising money for a local charity, helping to build low income housing, etc.
Supplier that has met the sustainability requirements that your organization expects from them based on your organization’s sustainability policy.
A mixture of humus-rich, decomposed vegetable matter used as a fertilizer or soil enrichment.
Composting is the result of a complex feeding pattern where aerobic microbes (bacteria and fungi that thrive on oxygen) feed on organic waste and break it down into a nutritious soil amendment. This can be done on a small scale in the home or on a larger scale for business and whole cities.
Corporate Social Responsibility
A form of corporate self-regulation whereby a business monitors and ensures their adherence to law, ethical standards, and international norms.
CPG – Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines compliant
From the U.S. Federal Government’s Sustainable Purchasing Requirements: Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines compliant (CPG): CPG is an EPA designation focused on recycled content. The CPG recommend post-consumer recycled (PCR) and total recovered (TR) content levels in a number of product categories. Recycled content levels range from 1 percent to 100 percent, depending on material type and product subcategory, and both PCR and TR thresholds need to be met for a product to be deemed “CPG compliant.” Purchasing CPG compliant products can help Agency’s divert materials from landfills, and reduce the need for using new resources. http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/tools/cpg/
The percentage of waste materials diverted from traditional disposal such as landfilling or incineration to be recycled, composted, or re-used.
The measure of area needed to supply national populations with the resources and area needed to absorb their wastes.
The system of relationships between organisms and their environments.
A community of living organisms interacting with themselves and with their environment.
Tourism that respects the culture, natural history and environment of destinations and seeks to minimize the negative impact of travel on the environment.
EDF Paper Calculator (Environmental Defense Fund)
An area of the earth’s surface representative of large and very generalized ecological units characterized by various abiotic and biotic factors
EDF Paper Calculator (Environmental Defense Fund)
A population of organisms that is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in number or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters.
Using less energy to provide the same level of service.
Energy Star Equipment
A voluntary labeling program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S.Department of Energy that identifies energy efficient products. Qualified products exceed minimum federal standards for energy consumption by a certain amount, or where no federal standards exist, have certain energy saving features. Such products may display the Energy-Star label.
Practices and strategies that are designed to minimize the amount of energy and water used.
A clause added to service provider contracts that stipulates requirements for environmental and sustainability practices and performance goals. It may also include concessions if the practices or goals are not met.
Any set of parameters related to environmental practices, materials composition or participation in sustainability programs that is used to select and filter potential suppliers.
Environmentally Responsible Transportation
Transportation options that minimize environmental impact such as mass public transportation (light rail, subway, electric/hybrid/biodiesel buses) and electric/hybrid vehicles.
Practices that encourage and maximize sustainability. Practices can be related to management, on-site activities, and supplier selection.
EPEAT is the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool. Electronics can be designated EPEAT Bronze / Silver / Gold depending on the number and type of environmentally preferable attributes associated with their production, use, packaging or disposal. By seeking EPEAT items, Agencies can purchase the most environmentally conscious electronics available.http://www.epeat.net/
A concept that states that individuals doing the same work should receive the same remuneration regardless of their sex, race, sexuality, nationality or anything else. Example of practical application: inquire at facility about outstanding union grievances.
The method of choosing products which take into account a company’s responsibility for labor and human rights practices within all stages of its supply chain. Example of practical application: choosing fair trade coffee for your meeting.
1) Critiquing and rating the overall success of an event.
2) Developing an event profile from accurate event statistics.
3) A systematic process to determine the value of an activity.
Waste materials generated from using or discarding electronic devices, such as computers, televisions, and mobile phones. E-waste tends to be highly toxic to humans, plants, and animals, and has been known to contaminate water, air and dirt.
An event at which products, services or promotional materials are displayed to attendees visiting exhibits on the show floor. These events focus primarily on business-to-business (B2B) relationships.
Preferred term for the specific person responsible for all aspects of planning, promoting and producing an exhibition. Also called show manager, show organizer. See also show management, show producer.
Labor practices by employers that do not violate the rights of their workers. (For more details see the wikipedia definition.)
Small farmers are paid a fair market price that enables them to improve their standard of living (examples: Fair Trade, Equal Exchange).
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified
The FSC is a nongovernmental organization focused on developing principles for responsible forestry. Purchasing FSLIC-certified wood and paper products can help agencies encourage the careful management of forest resources.
An organic, energy-rich substance formed from the long-buried remains of prehistoric life.
Fuel Efficient Engine Technology
Technologies that are recognized as those capable of making a significant impact on a car’s overall fuel efficiency.
A gradual, long-term increase in the near surface temperature of the Earth. The term is most often used to refer to the warming predicted to occur as a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases.
GMIC – Green Meeting Industry Council
The Green Meeting Industry Council is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization. The Council is a membership-based professional organization which provides educational resources to planners, suppliers, and venues seeking to meet the ever-rising standards consumers set for sustainable meetings.
A common expression meaning environmentally responsible.
Green Collar Job
A job connected to eco-friendly products and services or renewable energy. Involving actions for protecting the natural environment.
Heating of the atmosphere that results from the absorption of solar radiation by certain gases.
A gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect by absorbing solar radiation.These gases include, but are not limited to, carbon dioxide, ozone, methane, and chlorofluorocarbons.
According to APEX, a green meeting incorporates environmental considerations throughout all stages of the meeting in order to minimize the negative impact on the environment.
Green Seal Certified
An organization, product or process that has passed a specific environmentally responsible standard as outlined by Green Seal.
To falsely claim a product is environmentally sound. Also known as faux green. Disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.
Grey Water Reuse
The reuse of grey water, which is wash water. That is, all waste water excepting toilet waste and food wastes derived from garbage grinders.
Stands for hazardous air pollutant.
An abbreviation for hazardous material. A hazardous material is any item or agent (biological, chemical, physical) that has the potential to cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment, either by itself or through interaction with other factors.
High-efficiency Speaker Systems
These systems have cabinets that are typically smaller and lighter compared to older traditional models, thus requiring less truck space and ultimately allowing your sound provider to burn less fuel in transport.
The basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled regardless of race, nationality, or membership of any particular social group. They specify the minimum conditions for human dignity and a tolerable quality of life.
Defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. (source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)
A hybrid meeting involves a mixture of a physical events with elements of a virtual event usually running simultaneously with overlapping content and interactive elements.
Vehicle that uses a combination of two engine types. Cars are most commonly gasoline-electric hybrids.
A standard developed by participating standards bodies from various countries around the world. It is a management system standard and is similar in structure to other international standards such as ISO 14001. ISO 20121 provides a framework to identify and effectively manage event sustainability issues and enhance positive legacies from events. ISO 20121 outlines a process to help event organizers get commitment for clear sustainability objectives that can be measured.
1,000 watts of electricity used for one hour.
Lamp Recycling Program
Recycling program specifically for fluorescent lamps, CFLs, and high intensity discharge (HID) lamps, which contain small amounts of mercury.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – A Green Building Rating System® is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Linen Reuse Program
Program in which a hotel or other type of accommodation facility asks their guests if they wish to not have towels and/or sheets replaced each day. These programs conserve water, detergent and labor.
A term used to describe the minimum hourly wage necessary for a person to achieve a quality of life generally higher than that indicated by the definition of poverty.
From within 100 miles/160 kilometers or relevant local area such as a metropolitan area.
Locally Grown Food
From within 100 miles/160 kilometers or relevant local area such as metropolitan area.
Items that can be recycled close to the event and do not require long-distance transport to recycling facilities. For example, paper can often be recycled by local paper mills, whereas electronic equipment is usually shipped to other countries for recycling.
Areas where buses and other commercial vehicles are asked to not idle their engines. Engine idling wastes fuel, causes engine wear, and pollutes loading docks and other work sites with tailpipe exhaust.
A monitoring device, commonly connected to a room’s lighting but also occasionally to heating or ventilation, that shuts down these services when the space is unoccupied, thus saving energy.
Offset Energy Use
Amount of energy use offset through purchase of offset credits.
Organic Foods/Certified Organic
Grown without chemicals that can harm the land, water or human health. Organic certification of food can be through an independent organization or government program.
Any agent used to kill or control insects, weeds, rodents, fungi or other organisms.
Any one of several of the melamine plastics bonded to paneling for durability and appearance. Often used in exhibit construction.
A type of plastic commonly used at events for food serviceware and signs. It can be recognized due to its foam core, and trade name “Styrofoam”. Polystyrene is a concern due to lack of recycling options at event venues.
An end product that has completed its life cycle as a consumer item and would otherwise have been disposed of as a solid waste. Post-consumer materials include recyclables collected in commercial and residential recycling programs, such as office paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, plastics and metals.
Once a material or finished product has served its intended use and has been diverted or recovered from waste destined for disposal, it is then considered “post-consumer.” Having completed its life as a consumer item, it can then be recycled as such. This differs from “pre-consumer” or “post-industrial” waste, which is generated by industrial or manufacturing waste.
Post-consumer waste is recycled material collected after people have tossed it in a recycling bin. Office recycling programs and household recycling programs are the main source of post-consumer waste.
Post-Event Sustainability Report
Report produced post-event summarizing sustainability measures and outcomes for an event.
Processed Chlorine Free (PCF)
A bleaching process free of chlorine or chlorine compounds. The most common PCF bleaching agent is hydrogen peroxide (which breaks down into water and oxygen). Using PCF paper eliminates most of the toxic byproducts of traditional bleaching, such as dioxins and other organochlorides that pollute bodies of water.
Uncoated paper made from a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer waste and coated paper with at least 10% post-consumer waste.
The collection of waste materials and reprocessing them into new materials or products, that are then sold again.
Renewable energy refers to energy derived from renewable sources such as water, solar, wind and geothermal heat. Renewable energy at the selected destination may refer to direct sources such as a convention center with solar panels, or indirect sources such as power off the grid sourced from a local wind farm.
Any resources or materials that can be replenished naturally over time such as wood or solar energy.
Responsible Seafood Guide
Purchasing guide that lists various types of seafood with associated environmental impact, usually with a scale of low, medium and high impact. This also often takes into account endangered species in addition to farming and fishing practices. Several organizations produce these guides such as SeaWeb, Blue Ocean Institute, Marine Conservation Society. Some guides are national and others refer to specific regions.
The act or an instance of sharing motor vehicle transpiration with another or others, especially among commuters; this can also be coordinated for events.
Coffee that is grown in the traditional manner, with coffee plants interspersed under a canopy of trees resulting in more habitats for birds, less need for chemical inputs, and less disruption to forests.
Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (as defined by the Brundtland Commission, 1987).
A sustainability commitment can include any written or oral statements by an organization indicating a commitment toward making sustainability a priority. Sustainability can refer to environmental, social and/or economic sustainability.
Any set of parameters related to environmental practices, materials composition or participation in sustainability programs that is used to select and filter potential suppliers.
Set of written guidelines that outline an organizations commitment and practices related to sustainability.
Sustainable Flooring Options
Flooring made from sustainable, renewable or recycled sources such as recycled carpet or certified wood.
Food that is healthy for consumer and animals, does not harm the environment, is humane for workers, respects animals, provides a fair wage for the farmer, and supports the enhances rural communities.
Sustainable transportation includes public transit, hybrid shuttles and taxis, ride share services, and bike share services.
Depending on the types of standards that need to be met for a product, service or sustainability claim, companies may hire an independent auditor to certify that it has met the standard; this is called third-party verification. For standards that have been set as part of a law, there is often a legally mandated certification process or a government-run monitoring program. For most standards, however, it is up to the company to decide whether to get third-party verification, to have their customers formally check that they have met the standard, or to “self-certify,” in which case customers, investors and the public just have the word of the company. (referenced from the Ecologia website)
Total Energy Use
Total energy consumed by an event. May include meeting venues, offsite venues, and accommodations usage.
Toxic materials are substances that may cause harm to an individual through direct contact, inhalation and/or consumption.
Also known as dredging, the process of dragging huge, heavy nets over the sea floor, scooping up everything in their path.
Triple Bottom Line
A business and development philosophy incorporating the three E’s: equity, environment, economics. Also referred to as the three P’s: people, planet, profit.
Lifestyle choice that excludes the consumption and use of animal flesh and by-products.
Environmentally friendly printing inks that are made from vegetable oils combined with pigments. The most common type is made from soy.
Dietary choice that excludes the consumption of animal flesh or by-products, but may include eggs and dairy.
A type of plastic commonly used at events for signs, structures, banners, name badges and tabletops. Also known as PVC, it comes in flexible and rigid forms. Vinyl is a concern due chemicals involved in manufacture and limited recycling options.
Paper manufactured from new pulp or cotton and that does not contain any recycled material.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
Compounds that have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility. Many VOCs are human made chemicals used and produced in the manufacture of paints, pharmaceuticals and refrigerants. VOCs typically are industrial solvents, such as trichloroethylene; fuel oxygenates, such as methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE); or byproducts produced by chlorination in water treatment, such as chloroform. VOCs are often components of petroleum fuels, hydraulic fluids, paint thinners and dry cleaning agents. VOCs are common ground water contaminants.
Hotel rooms are located within five city blocks or accessible by public transportation to the convention center or meeting venue.
Nothing Here Yet
Zero Waste Event:
Typically describes an event that does not discard any material to landfill.