IMEX America 2012 Highlights: Sustainability Safari

Clean the World Amenity KitIMEX Group encourages exhibitors, attendees and the hospitality industry as a whole to proactively tackle sustainability issues. Hosted buyers, attendees and exhibitors are encouraged to join the Green Team by completing green tasks. The "Sustainability Safari" was one of a number of initiatives that demonstrated IMEX Group's commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR). 

For exhibitors this includes using USB sticks instead of brochures, using hydroelectricity instead of regular electricity and shipping unused brochures home with the containers provided.

Hosted buyers are encouraged to request USBs instead of brochures, recycle badges, and attend educational sessions at the Sustainability Hub. This year's corporate social responsibility and sustainability educational educational sessions included:

  • a sustainability hub
    powered by the Green Meeting Industry Council featured Green Power sessions at which experts helped attendees and exhibitors discover how to apply environmental and corporate social responsibility initiatives to meetings, events and incentive travel.
  • 3 corporate social responsibility breakouts on Smart Monday
  • 26 sustainability or CSR workshops and seminars through the Inspiration Centre
    including Waste: The Final Frontier, and New Twist on an Old Classic: Las Vegas Shrimp Cocktail, focusing on developing sustainable menus
    Including CSR and ROI: The Business Case for Giving Back and IMEX & APEX: Blazing Trails for a Sustainable Events Industry
  • 2 hands-on opportunities to give back to the community
    Opportunity Village Activity Afternoon at Magical Forest and Sustainability Safari at Clean the World

Sustainability Safari

Since its inception, Clean the World has eliminated more than 750 tons of waste, collected $2,000,000 worth of donations, and distributed more than 11 million bars of soap and 325,000 pounds of shampoo and conditioner. Sponsored by Clean the World, this event addressed two key issues:

  • World Health Organization and UNICEF statistics indicate, in developing nations, diarrhea and colds that develop into pneumonia are the leading causes of death for children under 5. Soap and water can prevent this. 
  • Up until February 2009, unused soap, shampoo, conditioner, and amenity kits from resorts and hotels around the world, were ending up in landfills. 

The overflowing bins in the photo below taken at the Las Vegas Recycling plant during Sustainability Safari gives a small sample of the impact.

Clean the World

Now, Clean the World Foundation and 1,500+ hotel partners donate unused soap and other amenities that are re-cycled to create hygiene kits for distribution to families and children around the world. This sustainable initiative reduces landfill waste and boosts the quality of life for children and families in low income communities.

During MPI Smart Monday at IMEX America 2012, IMEX, the Green Meetings Industry Council, and the Las Vegas Sand teamed up for Sustainability Safari. In the afternoon, I was one of 13 Smart Monday attendees who responded to the hands-on opportunity to give back to the community through the Clean the World Activity Afternoon - Get Your Hands Dirty Cleaning Soap. We spent the afternoon volunteering at Clean the World’s Las Vegas Recycling Operations Center.

Clean the WorldClean the WorldClean the WorldClean the World


How It Worked

There was a brief orientation about Clean the World and a tour of the facility. What struck us as volunteers was the huge impact that was made in a relatively short timeframe. In just a few hours, we:

  • sorted 787 lbs. of soap that will be sanitized, ground and re-constituted into 4,197 bars of soap, enough to provide 839 children with soap for 30 days.
  • sorted 1362 bottles of shampoo that will be sanitized to provide 969 children with shampoo for 30 days.
  • assembled 269 amenity kits which were donated to The Shade Tree, a shelter for abused women and children, and Opportunity Village.

The main takeaway was that making a difference does not have to take a long time. Event planners and executives should reflect on this when shaping agendas for corporate events and conferences.

Photo Credits: Executive Oasis International

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