What if you had 10,697 participants from over 150 countries attend your event? Plus over 2,900 exhibitors from 50 countries? All of them your peers in the hospitality industry. And your inspiring goal is, “to be a leader in event sustainability and focus on reducing your environmental impact?”

In a desert city?

Then you might be Dale Hudson, Knowledge and Events Director, IMEX Group guiding the IMEX team to make a difference.

I met Dale Hudson nearly a decade ago and served with her on the Green Meeting Industry Council Board of Directors during the early years. Dale is passionate about making the world a better place through a more sustainable meetings industry, educating students and giving back to the community through social programs. Although softly spoken, her words carry a strength and determination which have changed many a life.

Thanks to Dale and the IMEX Challenge, there has been a long-lasting legacy in the Las Vegas Community. The Shade Tree, a local shelter for women, children and their pets has been revitalized and a wonderful healing garden now graces the property. In 2014 alone, $14,300 was raised and two gardens were built by 46 volunteers in two days. She has also worked to help Opportunity Village and Clean the World.

Her leadership in sustainable meeting initiatives has impacted Las Vegas vendors, accommodations and meeting venues who work together to make IMEX America a green event. Daring to be change agents, they started by setting four main objectives in 2014…

  1. Decrease footprint in terms of water, energy, emissions and waste
  2. Measure and quantify the event’s environmental footprint to better understand results and future improvement needs
  3. Increase their compliance score using APEX/ASTM Level 1 Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards
  4. Educate visitors, exhibitors and hosted buyers on issues related to sustainability practices WHILE supporting local non-profit organizations through donations, volunteer participation and material donations

Because of Dale and the IMEX team’s commitment in this space, IMEX America was able to make significant changes resulting in a substantially more sustainable event.

Using the MeetGreen© Calculator score as a benchmarking tool, in 2011, IMEX America reported in with a 49% total score and was off to a great start. In 2014, the event scored an impressive 75.1% putting them in the top 10% of all events in the Calculator. Impressive!

One of the biggest wins was the increase in local foods served, which was up 150% over 2013. Coupled with the food waste, which was down over 56% from the previous year, there have been significant strides in this area alone. From first-hand experience, I can attest to a much healthier, better quality meal on the show floor.

We salute, Dale Hudson, a modest everyday hero, for her contribution and passion. Indeed, Dale has made this world a better place!

Note: Find out more in the full case study