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FEATUREThe first European Forum onSustainability in the Meetings Industry(EFSMI), held in Bruges in June, wassupported by Meetings ProfessionalsInternational (MPI) with a contingent fromthe UK and Ireland Chapter travelling by'carbon neutral' Eurostar.Among the 114 delegates present from 10countries were MCI Europe's sustainabilitydirector and Green Meetings IndustryCouncil board member, Guy Bigwood; VisitManchester's conference services manager,Lisa Owen; and incoming president of theMPI UK and Ireland Chapter, SustainableEvents' Fiona Pelham. Association andcorporate representatives included theInternational Congress and ConventionAssociation, Compass Group, Japaneseelectronics manufacturer NEC and The WaltDisney Company. President of MPI Belgium and director ofMeeting in Bruges Congress Bureau, whichhosted the event, Kathleen Bertier, saidsustainability is about meeting the needs ofthe present without compromising thefuture. "Our objective was primarily to raiseawareness about sustainability pertinent toour industry and show the leadership of MPIon the subject. Sustainability is more thanpoliticians using words."She gave the example of Bruges, where allthe hotels and activities are within walkingdistance of each other. A year before the conference was due tobe held, EFSMI conference director Charles-Eric Vilain XIIII from Belgium-based C andBelieve, was appointed. "A year ago I knewnothing about sustainability or how to run asustainable event," he said."The key objective of EFSMI was not onlyto raise the awareness of this conferencewithin the global meetings industry, but alsoto create a great platform for futuremeetings," he added. Chairman-elect for MPI and the firstEuropean MPI chairman, Swantegy's EricRozenberg, told delegates that all in themeetings industry were responsible formaintaining sustainability standards."Sustainable events make good businesssense," said Rozenburg, who stressedmeasurement is key. "For corporate social responsibility tobecome part of a company's ethos,Sustainability and corporate social responsibility is here to stay. That was the clear message to come out ofthe first European Forum on Sustainability in the Meetings Industry held in Bruges. Sarah O'Donnellreports. sustainability initiatives have to be driven bytop management and not just a few taskedwith the implementation. It is not to be thebest in the world, but for the world," headded. The forum heard MD of global cateringcompany Compass Group Belgium, MarcVan Handenhove, stress that "clients havethe power to change the way planners runevents, but meeting planners, suppliers andvenues should be leading the way for theindustry". MPI's CSR and sustainable eventsmanager, Roger Simons, lent his support toa new online Global SustainabilityGreen and CSR have driven a coach and horse through old corporate thinkingEverything in Bruges is easily walkableSeptember 2010 Conference+Meetings World www.c-mw.net 25????EFSMI: Greenreference point