IMEX Group's Corporate Responsibility Project aims to increase the awareness of social and environmental responsibility in the meetings industry. There are a number of initiatives that encourage exhibitors, visitors and hosted buyers to get involved. Here are just a few examples:
Giving Back Program
Support for local charities at IMEX Frankfurt took place through a number of initiatives. The Badge Back program raised funds for:
- Maisha's Sewing Project - Integration for African Women Through Sewing, a a nonprofit NGO (non government organization) which supports African women living in Germany with health, education, career and language support
- Lichtblick aktiv Schwester Sigrid e.V., a long-term shelter founded by Sister Sigrid Ehrlich that provides housing to over 50 people. Through Lunch with the Homeless at Lichtblick aktiv Schwester Sigrid e.V, a cooking team-building challenge that took place on Monday, participants prepared lunch for the shelter.
- Share your Spares encouraged IMEX Frankfurt attendees to donate their pre-cleaned USB sticks. These will be distributed to schools in India.
In partnership with the Green Meeting Industry Council, IMEX offered a full 3 day's-worth of educational programs to heighten awareness about sustainability in the meeting and events industry. Topics ranged from Sustainable Menu Planning to Business Benefits of Implementing Sustainability.
German Convention Bureau Partnership
German Convention Bureau (GCB) worked with the 215 exhibitors at the Germany booth to aim to integrate sustainability initiatives into all aspects of their participation including travel, logistics and brochure distribution. Exhibitors were encouraged to use the CO2OL's CO2 Calculator on the GCB website to identify opportunities to reduce their carbon footprint.
Attendees were encouraged to join the Green Team and commit to completing at least 3 specific tasks to reduce their carbon footprint during IMEX. For example the following tasks were available for exhibitors:
- Use at least one sustainable option at the booth (e.g. hydroelectricity instead of standard electricity, re-usable carpet or no carpet)
- Provide USB sticks instead of printed brochures.
- During appointments, make a point of asking makes clients if they have an interested in learning about sustainability options.
- Attend at least one Sustainability Hub educational session.
- Send back and re-use all left over printed materials
Other Sustainability Initiatives
Other initiatives included encouraging the use of mobile apps. to replace printed brochures, providing re-recyclable cloth bags instead of paper or plastic. For all events involving catering, exhibitors were encouraged to ask attendees to RSVP, serve smaller portions and refraining from pre-setting desserts to reduce waste.