When Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Groups says, “We do our part to leave the world a better place than we found it,” she is sincere. “With 3,250 exhibitors representing 139 countries, 3,216 hosted buyers from 60 countries and 12,227 attendees, we are truly the pulse of the meetings industry. We are committed not only to implementing best practice in event sustainability ourselves but also to using our influence to encourage everyone in our industry to maximize their efforts.”
Every aspect of the IMEX America event is under scrutiny by the sustainability team, from water, waste, energy, and material use to carbon emissions. Even the show catalogs, pocket guides and show dailies were reduced, while the show attendees increased by more than 14 percent. This resulted in a savings of 1,500 pounds of paper, which is equivalent to 13 fewer trees over 2015.
While metrics for these savings are important, we want to focus our intention on two other categories which are vital to the human aspect of events: Give Back and Be Well. Like other initiatives, both of these have objectives, targets and reporting, not to mention a wonderful story to tell.
Objective: Give back to the local Las Vegas Community.
2016 Target: Support the missions of local organizations by contributing materials, time and dollars.
2016 Actual: Donated 62 volunteer hours to clean a local Las Vegas Park.
This 2.5-hour group event, organized by Outside Las Vegas, took place during Smart Monday and was open to all IMEX America participants. Over 25 volunteers gathered at Sunset Park to help repair flood damage, pick up trash, clean the children’s play and picnic areas, and revive the volleyball courts. It was a great opportunity to network and collaborate with like-minded meeting professionals and to make a positive contribution to the local community of over 62 total volunteer hours.
Assembled and donated 833 hygiene kits to Clean the World
Clean the World was founded in 2009 to help collect, recycle, and distribute lightly used hygiene products generated by hotels to impoverished people around the world. Attendees at IMEX America were encouraged to visit the Clean the World booth to assemble hygiene kits. Hygiene kits included a bar of soap, bottle of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion, razor, washcloth, toothbrush, toothpaste, and a notecard with a personalized message. Over the 3-day event, 833 kits were assembled. These efforts not only helped provide much needed hygiene kits for distribution, but also helped educate attendees from the meetings and events industry about Clean the World’s significant global achievements.
Donated 975 badges and lanyards to the Teachers Exchange
Attendees helped to reduce waste and help the Las Vegas community by placing their badge in one of many badge back bins placed at the end of the event. This year, 975 badges were collected and donated to The Teacher’s Exchange to be repurposed or reused.
IMEX America also makes a donation to The Shade Tree and Opportunity Village for every badge that is donated. A donation of $5,500 to the Shade Tree of Las Vegas and $2,500 to Opportunity Village was made in 2016.
Donated more than 1,250 pounds of furniture and signage from the show to Veterans Village
Each year after the show, furniture and large graphics created for exhibitor booths are left on the show floor to be discarded. The Sands team was able to collect and donate 1,250 pounds of furniture and signage to Veterans Village, a unique and innovative approach to comprehensive housing with 24/7/365 crisis intervention center and intensive support services.
Objective: IMEX America has been attentive to mind, body, and being to help guests stay at their physical and mental best during the event.
2016 Target: Increase opportunities for guests to experience relaxation and connection, and to influence meeting planners to incorporate these elements into their own future meetings.
2016 Actual: Supporting oneself and supporting others: wellbeing and sustainability go hand in hand at IMEX America. There is a strong relationship between environmental health and human health. Wellbeing is explored further through the comprehensive education program on the show floor with sessions showcasing both new and proven health and wellbeing concepts – inspiring meeting and event planners with ideas they can include in their own events. IMEX has been attentive to three areas of personal wellbeing to help attendees stay at their physical and mental best during the event.
It is important to both stimulate and relax one’s mind at an event. A device-free meditation room called the Be Well Lounge was provided outside the exhibit hall with more than 23 sessions in guided meditation and yoga. More than 170 visitors participated. MPI teamed up with a local animal therapy training organization to bring dogs to the show for the first time this year for Smart Monday for the Paws for a Break program. Dogs were brought onsite to provide relaxing, therapeutic animal
connections and to reduce stress.
How one feels is directly tied to levels of nutrition, activity, and rest. IMEX America offered many healthy food options during the event to keep the mind and body acute and aware. Wednesday morning also saw the second IMEX America Run in which more than 450 attendees ran a 5km circuit partially along the Las Vegas strip.
Attendees were encouraged to take time for themselves and to live in the present moment. With over 10,000 attendees walking the show floor each day, it was important to take a break and clear one’s mind to maintain focus and drive. Whether that was through a meditation session, exercise class, or a call home from one of the lounges, IMEX America provided many opportunities for rejuvenation during the event.
IMEX America continues to push the envelope and provide a “learning lab” to event industry professionals. Give Back and Be Well show fellow professionals it is possible to incorporate human elements into meetings which otherwise can tax both the environment and its people. Take a few moments to read the full 2016 Event Sustainability Report and learn from the true leaders in this industry and the world.