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Green Key Meetings

An eco-rating program for sustainable meeting options

by Ron Johnson

Green Key Meetings was launched in April 2011 to provide meeting planners with an eco-rating program that targets convention and meeting spaces. With a growing list of facilities, including the Delta Hotels and Resorts’ Canadian portfolio of properties, it’s proving to be a valuable tool.

“Nothing could be easier for planners,” says Calgary-based Elizabeth Henderson, co-founder and chief sustainability strategist of Meeting Change, a business consultancy specializing in integrated business strategy with social and environmental responsibility. “It’s just like Green Key Global. All they need to do is look for the Green Key Meetings rating to know the relative ability of the hotel in providing sustainable meeting options.”

The rating, on a sliding scale from one to five, is established via an online assessment of hotel operations in six core components specific to their meeting and convention facilities (see Core Components sidebar). The hotel is assigned a rating from one to five based on the evaluation. The program costs $300 annually for hotel members—but costs nothing for planners to use.

According to Linda Hartwell, manager of marketing, communications and business development for the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) in Ottawa, the program will also soon include a third-party auditor to inspect participants as well as performance reports that will provide an outline of the assessment and recommendations for improvement.

“Many companies have environmental agendas, and want to plan meetings that continue that agenda,” says Hartwell.

The program was designed in conjunction with HAC and Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Canada. Planners simply go to the website and click on the interactive map of North America to find ratings—both the Green Key Eco-rating and Meetings rating—and links to the suppliers.

As Toronto-based Ron Guitar, CMP, MPI Foundation development manager, Canada, points out, it’s all right there on the site: a quick and easy way for meeting planners to evaluate a potential property’s environmental commitment.

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