A DMC’s Perspective on SustainabilityMay 1, 2018

Every Effort We Make Toward Sustainability is a Positive One By
May 1, 2018

A DMC’s Perspective on Sustainability

Every Effort We Make Toward Sustainability is a Positive One

Scaletta,Jane-AlliedPRAOrlando-110x140Jane Scaletta, CIS, DCMP is general Manager, AlliedPRA Orlando, Inc. Jane is both a Positive Impact Ambassador and a member of the SITE Sustainability Committee. Jane Scaletta grew up in Jamaica, attended boarding school in England and moved to the U.S. in the late 70s. Jane has worked in travel and tourism for more than 30 years in the U.S. and Caribbean. She works for one of the largest DMCs in the U.S., AlliedPRA. Contact her at AlliedPRA Orlando.

Click, send — another proposal for DMC services is on its way to a client. I look up from my keyboard and it’s a beautiful sunny day in paradise. It’s hot already, and Spring has barely started — it’s going to be a long hot year. I reach for my glass of water and the sun streaming in from my window hits my glass and the water comes alive, sparkling and dancing. I take a long sip and I’m thankful we have a water cooler in the office to save on using plastic water bottles. Every effort we make in our office toward sustainability is a positive one. From repurposing the many sheets of paper we use for each client’s program to recycling our ink cartridges is a step in the right direction in sustainability. It reduces waste. But mostly, we share our passion for sustainability with our clients by offering them ideas or options on ways to leave less of a carbon footprint on our destination.

Should that matter? It does matter and it’s time to pay attention to why. I am a Positive Impact Ambassador on SITE’s Sustainability Committee. SITE’s goals are to:

1. Create a committee of like-minded sustainability advocates representing SITE’s global footprint.
2. Develop a sustainability charter for SITE to be launched at the annual conference in Bangkok in 2019.
3. Identify how to integrate sustainability into future education certificate programs for SITE.
4. Integrate sustainability into each SITE and SITE Foundation event that is offered to our members in 2018.
5. Create monthly educational content to support this priority and our members.

What does sustainability mean in the MICE market? It is an enduring and balanced approach to social progress, economic activity and environmental responsibility. We need to remember and commit to the three pillars of sustainability: social, environmental and economic.

Why is sustainability important? The short answer, according to Positive Impact, a not-for-profit that provides education, resources and inspiration, is that sustainability makes good business sense.

Positive Impact shares the top five reasons sustainability is identified as positive for business. Sustainability is important because:

1. It will save you money.
2. It will attract key talent to your business.
3. We have limited environmental resources.
4. Your customers care about making a difference.
5. You have a brand to protect.

The tourism and hospitality industry generates the largest waste footprint wherever it goes. Events take a heavy toll on our resources, society and the environment. They can generate significant waste, put a strain on local resources like water or energy or even ignite tensions in local communities.

DMCs, hotels, supplier partners, destinations and companies are seeing the benefits of sustainability and are taking action to implement sustainable practices.

Many DMCs today practice and implement sustainability in their business model and seek to work with other suppliers who practice these same actions. Destination Nashville’s Carol Norfleet, CMP, DMCP, has a client who puts sustainability in the forefront of everything they do, and their goal is ZERO waste when they meet. They made a commitment to the environment by embracing local farms and seasonal foods, reducing vehicle traffic to their event, and designing no-waste décor. They use paperless invitations, ride-share discount codes, local breweries and donate leftover food to Open Table Nashville.

AlliedPRA Hawaii’s Robert D. Lowell says they worked with a client that took their CSR event to the next level allowing the attendees to give back to the community, while inspiring volunteerism and a spirit of cooperation. They brought 350 volunteers from the comfort of Ka’anapali and put them to work, getting dirt under their finger nails, planting Ulu and Coconut trees and native ground cover; quite literally reforesting the former food-forest of west Maui. In a year from now, there will be a forest of fruit producing trees!

The Effort Is International

In 2016 the UN developed 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world. The SDGs were created to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind, by 2030. Considering that the UN had declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, it was a good time for luxury hotels to get on board — and many have.

U.S. Hotels like EAST Miami of Swire Properties have created a focus on sustainability. The EAST Miami hotel’s water pressure system has been regulated in order to reduce water use, protect against water loss from surprise leaks and increase energy efficiency. As a guest, you won’t feel or see the difference. However, the impact this has on the environment is notable. The hotel also relies on a “collect and reuse” policy for rain water to be used as a source for the cooling tower and landscaping treatments throughout the property.

As I lived in Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands for many years, I was delighted to see that they have opened their first LEED Silver-certified resort, the Seafire Resort & Spa, kitted out with recycled and sustainable materials. The LEED certification is an internationally recognized green building certification program.

In the DMC industry we realize that sustainability is paramount for our future, and while sustainability is growing, there needs to be more education, more commitment and more action to keep the momentum going.

We can all make a difference if we focus on sustainability (social, environmental and economic) and our future. Have you thought about how you can make a difference?

  • Do your clients identify a minimum percentage of resources used at each event, for example, locally sourced food?
  • Are your resources in the office 100 percent recyclable or sourced ethically?
  • Do any of your suppliers implement sustainable practices?
  • Do your clients plan and allocate resources to minimize food production, like knowing how many attendees will eat at an event, to minimize waste?
  • Do you have any eco-friendly facilities that use renewable energy-powered infrastructures?
  • Do you encourage your clients to have recycling bins throughout their events?
  • Are you doing away with plastic name badges and printing them on seed paper instead?
  • Do the hotels or venues you utilize collect the leftover food to distribute to a social center or food bank?

Ovation Global DMC’s Hugo Slimbrouck says they have over a decade of dedication to sustainability. He works with his clients on creating a sustainability strategy with a vision, goals and key performance indicators. They work closely with the community to help reduce waste and propose projects to make an event carbon neutral.

How are you improving your levels of sustainability?

  • Are you aligning your company culture with sustainability at your events?
  • Are you saving costs by going local, or green or managing waste?
  • Are you creating innovative ideas and experiences to get attendees involved?

The most important thing to remember is we can change the world, one person at a time, and if we focus on what we want our future to look like and how we want to leave our world to future generations, every action toward sustainability is positive. C&IT

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