Tourism Board of SingaporeThe Singapore Tourism Board (STB) launched today Sustainability Guidelines to serve as a reference guide for Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE) industry players in Singapore.
These Guidelines are referenced from international standards such as ISO 20121 and the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards and geared towards those who are keen to adopt sustainable practices. Through these guidelines, the STB also hoped to encourage local MICE players to meet global sustainability requirements.
The Sustainability Guidelines cover seven industry categories from across the business events ecosystem, including hotels, venues, event organisers and meeting planners, transportation, food and beverage, as well as audio-visual set-up. Areas covered under the guidelines include advice on waste management and the efficient use of water and energy as well as initiatives that encourage employees to develop a commitment to sustainable practices. The first event to adopt these Guidelines is the “Responsible Business Forum on Sustainability Development” held at Marina Bay Sands from 25-26 November 2013.
“With corporate clients and delegates becoming increasingly concerned about the environment, business event organisers and meeting planners are turning to destinations and venues with strong sustainability policies in place,” said Mr. Chew Tiong Heng, Executive Director, Business Tourism Development at the Singapore Tourism Board. “Green initiatives are therefore gaining traction among MICE event organisers, who recognise that such endeavours significantly enhance the overall visitor experience,” he added.
The organisers of the recent co-located sustainability-themed events, Build Eco Xpo (BEX Asia), International Green Building Conference and World Engineers Summit 2013, shared their sustainability initiatives in a post-event sustainable report. Feedback from the visitors, exhibitors and delegates has been positive as they are keen to ensure that their carbon footprints from attending these events were minimized. SWIFT’s recent decision to hold Sibos 2015 in Singapore was also partly due to the green initiatives at its chosen venue, Marina Bay Sands.
“In our pursuit of quality tourism, we must meet these emerging needs to enhance the experience of our business visitors,” commented Mr. Chew. “The Sustainability Guidelines will help our MICE partners and stakeholders take the first step in adopting sustainable practices, and eventually integrate these practices across all aspects of their MICE operations. Over time, all these efforts will strengthen the attractiveness of Singapore as a dynamic exhibitions and conventions hub in the region, and reinforce our reputation as a City in a Garden.”
An integrated approach to eco-friendly Singapore
The Sustainability Guidelines for the MICE industry will complement the various green practices, policies and programmes for hotels and other buildings in Singapore.
The Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) organises a biennial Singapore Green Hotel Award to recognise local hotels for their efforts in water management, energy conservation, waste minimisation, waste recycling and other green initiatives. Recipients of the 2013 Singapore Green Hotel Awards include popular MICE venues such as Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore, Grand Hyatt Singapore, and Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore. Hotels are encouraged to work with SHA and the National Environment Agency to reduce solid waste under the “3R Programme for Hotels” launched on 1 July 2011.
The Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark scheme encourages more environment-friendly buildings and raises environmental awareness among developers, designers and builders. Many of Singapore’s MICE venues and hotels such as MAX Atria, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore, and ParkRoyal on Pickering have received this honour.
Venues and hotels have also started offering green meeting packages that include options such as water dispensers instead of bottled water, and making extensive use of natural daylight to reduce electricity usage. Against this backdrop, the Sustainability Guidelines serve as a timely reminder for event organisers, meeting planners, and their suppliers to ramp up their sustainability efforts.
“To transition to a sustainable meetings and events industry, convention bureaus have a key role to unite their members and partners in collaborative action and innovation on a destination scale. Their role as a leader is key to help organisations understand the business value of sustainable practice, educate stakeholders, share knowledge, recognise best practices, champion the use of standards and to lobby for greater action,” said Mr. Guy Bigwood, past-President Green Meeting Industry Council and MCI Group Sustainability Director. “STB’s sustainability strategy and newly developed Sustainability Guidelines will inspire their community and bring Singapore to the forefront of sustainability on a global scale.”