IMEX Group to Serve Up Plenty of Green Education at Upcoming IMEX America

September 29, 2017

Show organizers will have an opportunity to find even more answers to their questions about sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) at this year’s IMEX America.

The annual exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events industry is set for Oct. 10-12 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center at The Venetian | The Palazzo in Las Vegas.

From environmental best practices and making a business for green to pairing the right CSR activity with an event and eliminating waste at meetings, new CSR and environmentally focused learning sessions will grace the show’s Sustainability track, one of ten tracks covered by the more than 180 educational sessions at the show’s Inspiration Hub.

The return of this educational topic couldn’t be more timely for IMEX attendees and the events industry. Recent research by the IMEX Group and Meeting Professionals International revealed that 72 percent of event strategists have increased their environmental efforts in the last five years in an effort to put sustainability best practice into action, including 21 percent who said they have “significantly increased” their greening efforts.

“As shown by our research, sustainability continues to be a key issue for meeting planners and venues alike,” said Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group.

She continued, “Attendees at all events want to know that the organizers are planning those events in a responsible way – minimizing waste and the impact on both the local and global environment. We always seek to tackle the key industry issues through our education program, as well as providing innovative ideas and solutions.”

From Smart Monday, which precedes IMEX America on Oct. 9, until the last afternoon of the show, industry experts will be leading more than a dozen workshops and campfires on various aspects of this key topic and will also be available for one-to-one consultations.

During a Smart Monday session organized by MPI, attendees will have opportunities to benchmark their event activities against others through The Global Destinations Sustainability Index, as well as take a back-of-house tour of The Venetian | The Palazzo and the Sands Expo to get a behind-the-scenes look of how the hotel and venue minimize waste and maximize recycling.

In keeping with its annual efforts to accelerate and reinforce its commitment to CSR and sustainability, the show will be introducing new efforts and initiatives this year.

For the first time, IMEX America will partner with “Spread the Word Nevada,” a literacy non-profit organization that donates books to children and adults across Southern Nevada. Attendees are invited to donate by bringing their favorite books to the show.

On the green front, the show will be saving 20 metric tons of paper by no longer printing a show catalog, will be printing badges on paper rather than card (sans plastic covers), and will be using carpet in the aisles and in some of the booths made from 25 percent recycled materials that is 100 percent recyclable.

These new developments will join the show’s already well-established sustainability and CSR programs and best practices including waste recycling and diversion of exhibitors’ unused materials; energy use; Clean the World hygiene kit-making; Waterwise Wednesday food and drink offerings; the Badge Back program and the #greencaffeine initiative that asks attendees to bring their own reusable travel mug for coffee refills at designated Sands Expo coffee stations.

All of these social and environmentally friendly activities will be brought together at the show’s CSR and Sustainability Showcase, sponsored by Costa Rica and supported by AlliedPRA and GES, which will be located beside the entrance to the show floor starting Oct. 10.

“We have always been committed to sustainability, not only in sharing knowledge and encouraging best practice within the industry but also demonstrating our commitment through our own activities,” said Bauer.

She continued, “We work closely with our partners including GMIC, MeetGreen and The Venetian | The Palazzo and the Sands Expo to comply with APEX/ASTM standards as far as possible and with their help, make good progress each year. The Venetian | The Palazzo and the Sands Expo have a program to donate unserved food from conventions to local food banks. In October, it is expected to reach a substantial milestone: 300,000 meals donated since the program began – a terrific achievement.”

For exhibitors, IMEX produces a comprehensive Sustainable Exhibiting Guide, which offers tips on how to make small eco-friendly minded changes that can make a big difference.

“If every exhibitor and every attendee at IMEX America takes just one more practical step to help reduce waste or operate more sustainably at our show, then the entire industry’s contribution to greater sustainability, its legacy, will increase immensely,” Bauer added.

For more information about IMEX America’s CSR and Sustainability educational sessions, go here. To learn more about IMEX Group’s sustainability efforts, go here.


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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.