Sustainability Takes Center Stage at IMEX America 2022

imex america 2022
Sustainability was a key attribute at IMEX America 2022, infusing every aspect of the show and involving collaboration and cooperation from attendees, sponsors and exhibitors.

IMEX America, which was awarded MeetGreen’s Visionary Award for Sustainability for its work to lead “within their own industry, prioritize measurement and work to move the sustainability dial.” But, as show organizer the IMEX Group emphasizes, its sustainability efforts require buy-in and collaboration with its supply chain, exhibitors and attendees. IMEX America 2022, the 10th edition of the show, drew more than 10,000 people to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center Oct. 10–14.

One way IMEX does this is by asking all stakeholders in its shows to make a pledge to champion social impact and environmental responsibility at IMEX America by taking it People and Planet Pledge. Exhibitors who signed the pledge were given a green booth number and in a listing at the IMEX-EIC People and Planet Village. Individuals could show their participation by picking up a ribbon at the Village.

But that was just the tip of the sustainability iceberg for IMEX Group, which has committed to the Net Zero Carbon Events Initiative and will publish the road it intends to take to get to net zero by the end of next year. The initiative was launched during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) last fall by a broad collaboration, hosted by the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) with the support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

As IMEX Group CEO Carina Bauer said, “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.”

Among the many sustainability initiatives showcased at IMEX America 2022 were:

  • Collecting unused food and materials to be distributed to those in need. These include collecting lanyards and stationary, which were then donated to the Teachers Exchange.
  • Donating leftover hotel amenities to Clean the World, which turned them into hygiene kits to be distributed through the Las Vegas Shade Tree Shelter for women and children.
  • Reusing or recycling show carpets.
  • Powering the show by 30% solar energy, as well as offsetting 100% of its carbon emissions at the convention site.
  • Asking all participants to offset their travel and promoting walking routes and public transport
  • Partnering with Heka Health to incentivize people to develop and use healthy habits at the show
  • Diverting 95% of waste from the show from landfills to meet the industry threshold for a zero-waste event
  • Encouraging exhibitors to provide water coolers at their booths, and encouraging attendees to bring their own reusable water bottles, coffee cups and bags. IMEX Group also provided aluminum water bottles instead of single-use PET plastic water bottles
  • Providing “waterwise,” meat-free and “emissions-friendly” food options and menu labelling, as well as compostable service ware and food packaging, at its food functions.
  • Using plastic-free, reusable and recyclable paperboard for its rigid signage

Showcasing Past Sustainability Achievements

IMEX also released the 28-page 2021 edition of the sustainability report on IMEX America during this year’s tradeshow. The independently verified report, prepared by IMEX’s sustainability partner, MeetGreen, details the show’s energy use, food and beverage, materials consumption and reuse, and community impact, among other achievements. It also benchmarks each edition of the show against industry best practices such as the Events Industry Council’s Sustainable Event Standards.

IMEX sustainability report
Achievements detailed in the 2021 report, many of which were also put in place at this year’s show,  include:

  • Achieving a landfill diversion rate of 95%, which was its highest to date.
  • Offsetting 100% of carbon emissions from the MGM Convention Center, where the 2021 event was held
  • Reducing its carbon impact and water usage through carbon emissions menu coding and expanded plant-based options
  • Either recycling or returning to inventory 99% of carpeting, only sending 1% to landfill
  • Experimenting with new materials in some areas of the show such as Neenah conVerd paperboard and 100% polypropylene carpets

“Our show is designed to recognize and champion all areas of sustainability — we know that event professionals are keen to learn more about how they can implement planet-friendly practices into their own events,” said Bauer. “They’re also mindful of their own carbon ‘spend’ both personally and professionally. IMEX America this October has been designed to address those needs head-on as well as providing a high-level, high-value business experience.”

You can download the IMEX America 2021 Sustainability Report here , and learn more about the IMEX Group’s sustainability initiatives here.

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