Today I studied the APEX/ASTM Exhibits Standard, aka Standard Specification for Evaluation and Selection of Exhibits for Environmentally Sustainable Meetings, Events, Trade Shows and Conference, and I have to say, “Wow, here we go. The time for talk is over!”

Exhibits are complicated events when you take into account the communication required between the planner, event venue, general services contractor and exhibitors. Exhibits also potentially have huge environmental footprints in areas of waste, energy consumption and purchasing making sustainable practices vitally important. Take both of those ingredients and toss them together and then ensure that everything be covered in both the RFP and contracts. “Wow, we asked for this?”

Here’s the good news…the APEX/ASTM Standards for Level One in Exhibits all seem quite reasonable and provide a checklist approach. The requirement to put it in all contracts is necessary for success. It is also good news that we are all finally playing from the same game book–we can finally define a green exhibit hall.

Here’s my advice..take it slowly and don’t try to accomplish everything at once. As a planner, I would seek out both venues and vendors who already comply with Level One. It will make your job much easier. As a venue/vendor, I would be working hard to comply with the Standards and let my potential clients know that. After all, now we are in this together.

Someday, I am going to look back at this moment and chuckle at my initial reaction because someday it will be normal practice to plan a sustainable meeting.

My thanks to all of those who did the really hard work of defining these Standards, we will make you proud!