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Green Events & Destinations
What Delta is Doing
Where Do You Want to GO Next?
The travel and hospitality industries impact the environment by producing pollution and waste and depleting natural resources. Traveling to, from and around a destination generates greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) that have been implicated in global warming. CO2 is also released by heating, cooling, and lighting hotels, restaurants, and other travel and leisure attractions.
Business functions, such as conferences, meetings and trade shows, generate enormous amounts of waste, including paper and plastic products, signage and banners, decorations, exhibit structures and flooring, and packing materials. Food, packaging and serviceware, such as disposable plates, cups, napkins, cans and plastic bottles, are a large part of the waste stream. In addition, shipping and delivery of materials and supplies to and from a meeting site generates tens of thousands of metric tons of CO2.
Association and corporate event planners have been driving change in this market by adopting more sustainable practices, such as reducing paper use and eliminating bottled water, and by choosing destinations, meetings sites, and vendors who can provide environmentally preferable options, such as comprehensive recycling programs and composting of organic waste. A significant number also offset the impact of their events by purchasing carbon offsets. Tourists and leisure consumers are also exerting influence as a growing percentage are asking about sustainability and giving preference to attractions that offer environmental, economic, and social benefits to their communities.
Destinations, hotels, convention centers, and meeting sites of all types are incorporating sustainability strategies, such as green building, energy efficiency and renewable energy, carbon offsetting, green purchasing, water conservation, recycling and composting, and local and sustainable food efforts. Major hotel chains, convention centers, restaurants and other venues also are pursuing third-party certifications, such as LEED or GreenSeal, to appeal to this market. Many other industry vendors are capitalizing on the trend by developing products with varying levels of environmental benefit. The Green Meeting Industry Council has been working with the Convention Industry Council’s Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) for the past two years to create a level playing field by developing a single comprehensive standard for the industry. The soon-to-launch APEX standard will establish specific sustainability benchmarks and also provide a pathway for achieving higher levels of sustainability.
What Delta Is Doing
Delta’s involvement in the developing market for green events and destinations is growing. Over the past few years, members of our staff have been involved in educating industry stakeholders by publishing The Green Events Source Book, a nationally recognized resource and how-to guide, and delivering workshops at major industry conferences. We have also been closely involved in the development of the APEX standard and helped establish the green events movement in the Great Lakes region. Based on this experience, Delta is currently:
• Providing hands-on consulting for planning and implementing large-scale green events, including project coordination, RFP development, vendor evaluation and selection, logistics and impact measurement.
• Consulting with hospitality-related buildings and facilities, such as hotels, convention centers and restaurants, to implement green building strategies up to and including LEED or Green Seal certification.
• Through Delta Carbon, offering event-specific carbon measurement and offsetting services as well as developing innovative local carbon-reduction and offset strategies.
• Launching an APEX education and outreach campaign to help purchasers and vendors throughout the hospitality supply chain understand and implement the standard and prepare themselves for certification under this new standard.
• Offering APEX-qualified products at discounted prices through Buying Better.
• Working with communities that see sustainable leisure and tourism as a green economic development opportunity to assess and capitalize on their existing assets and, if appropriate, develop the attractions and infrastructure needs to become a “Green Destination.”
Where Do You Want to GO Next?
• Green Economy and Green Jobs
• Buying Better
• Delta Carbon
To explore additional green opportunities, visit our Green Economy Navigator.