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September 2010 Conference+Meetings World 27FEATUREBruges hosted 114 delegates Measurement tool designed for meetingplanners. "An industry-wide reporting systemwill allow the industry to measure, reportand benchmark," he said. "This will help toreduce costs by better streamlinedmanagement, save time and increase brandvalue."He stressed that the pessimists will be rightif everyone doesn't evolve and takeresponsibility for their personal andprofessional behaviour: "Organisers need toconsider the long-term interests ofcommunities they operate in and takeresponsibility for the impact (positive andnegative) their actions have."A social legacyProfessor of event management atWestminster University, Rob Davidson, spokeon the social legacy of meetings and theimpact a convention has on the communitywhen it comes to a city. "There have beennegative public perceptions of businessevents being wasteful yet the right sociallegacy programme, such as constructionprojects implemented by delegates andcommunity outreach, can result in apowerful bonding between participants andthe locals," he said. Davidson warned delegates to be sensitiveof 'CSR-washing' and insensitivity to thelocal community. "Activities can be disruptivefor charities, which creates more problemsthan they solve." The conference heard case studieshighlighting sustainable initiatives alreadyimplemented. Delegates also got to hearhow things can sometimes go wrong. Last year's global environmentalblockbuster, Conference of the Parties(COP15) in Denmark, has been hailed forits trailblazing green credentials. It hosted22,000 delegates and 8,000 staff. COP15organiser Jan-Christoph Napierski said"Sustainability is not expensive, but doesinclude a great deal of man hours."Napierski explained that internationalpolitical summits imply a lot of restrictionsand he admitted "it was certainly not thegreenest conference". "Sustainability is not only coveringenvironmental aspects but is much broaderto include societal and economic aspects.Therefore, sustainability actually helped usmake COP15 safer and cheaper," headded. FeedbackCMWasked delegates and sponsors whatthey took from the event. Visit Manchester'sLisa Owen set out to understand the impactand influence of sustainable meetings. "I leftwith some good notes and clear objectivesto follow. We will be working closely with ourstakeholders to develop a future strategy forManchester."One sponsor of the summit was NHHotels, which created an environmentalstrategic plan with targets to be achieved by2012, including a 20 per cent reductionacross all its hotels in CO2 emissions. Theoperations manager for NH Brugge,Thomas Van Parijs, said delegates could besplit into those starting to think aboutrunning sustainable events, others starting toimplement initiatives and then there werethe specialists. "For the first, it wasimportant they got acquainted with thepractices, concrete actions and examplesthat will inspire them."MPI UK and Ireland's Pelham agreed:"The subject is moving quickly so it isimportant to have an annual event and tohave case studies to learn from."Freelance researcher and consultantMariano Genzone noted that there was lotsof 'green' content but little on the social andeconomical consequences of events. "Iwould have liked to see advice on how tocontact green suppliers, how to keep all thechain sustainable and control it."Looking to the future, Jean-Pierre Cornelisfrom Flanders Business-2-Business, believedthat the conference could be split into MPIchapters and a representative would reportonline after. "The 2010 conference was the first of itskind and therefore next year will only buildon its development," said the director ofSlovenian tourist board in the Benelux, RokKlancnik. "Hopefully it will become areference for discussing sustainability in themeetings industry." The key statements to come out of the firstsustainability conference for the meetin gindustry were that making eventssustainable makes business sense;sustainabili ty initiatives need to be topmanagement-driven and organisers shouldmeasure their efforts by starting small andbuilding on each event. A resoundingmessage from all EFSMI speakers and thediscussions of delegates is that sustainabilityis here to stay. Ten ways to make your event more sustainable United Nations Green Meeting Guide 20091. Make it paperless: invite yourdelegates by email, provideinformation and let them register ona website or via social media2. Provide all the event's content on aUSB stick for delegates to takeaway3. Recycle your lanyard by notbranding it and use it for multipleevents4. Use digital screens for the display ofprogramme details. Therefore youare not reprinting pages of materialwhen times change. Use climateneutral printing if you have to print5. Choose local, Fair Trade andseasonal produce6. Compensate for the event anddelegates' CO2 emissions fromflights by donating to a charity7. Limit your disposable material: Donot give out any conference bags,gadgets or giveaways8. Choose a destination that workstowards sustainability itself9. Publish on your website when yoursuppliers are doing good work onsustainability10. See what is the added value ofhaving speakers in person at theconference. If not essential, usevideoconference technology.Sustainability case studies were popular

John Keenanreports that Milan means business and is ramping up its meetings offer, particularly at thetop end, ready for Expo 2015.Milan PlusFEATURE28Conference+Meetings WorldSeptember 2010Milan means business. Sure thestreets are filled with beautifulpeople wearing the latest designerlabels; the paparazzi are on constant alertfor the next A-lister to walk out of anightclub and the successful football teamssupply a stream of recognisable footballers,their wives, girlfriends and wannabes. Butmake no mistake, this is a hard-headed citywhere commerce rules and deals are thereto be done.Milan Convention Centre (MIC) is thelargest convention centre in Italy andmanaged by the giant Fiera Milano. TheMIC will expand into a new brand, MICPlus, in 2011, offering an 18,000-delegateseating capacity across 73 rooms.The MIC Plus project includes therestoration and renovation of the existingcomplex, to be followed by its extension andintegration with the new section, thuscreating a door for the World Fair, Expo2015, at the Fiera.MIC is right in the city centre with a Metroconnection five minutes away andconnected with the main Milan airportMalpensa by shuttle bus.The city has 30,000 hotel rooms with1,500 of them within walking distance ofthe congress centre.Such a prestigious location demand hotelsof equal standing and Milan does notdisappoint. Part of the Dorchester Collection, theHotel Principe di Savoia is one of the mostexclusive in Milan, and in Europe. Theproperty offers 13 function spaces which canbe combined according to the planner'sneeds, and it also features the largest five-star meeting space in Milan,accommodating up to 1,000 people. According to the hotel's AlessandraBaldeschi, "qualified staff are alwaysavailable to help event planners, both in theplanning stage and during the event". Thehotel's Acanto restaurant offers a diningexperience unrivalled in the city.The Four Seasons Hotel was convertedfrom a 15th-century convent and features118 rooms centred on a courtyard garden.The property has several meeting rooms,including a ballroom, which canaccommodate 220 people theatre-style.The Milan Marriott Hotel's conferencecentre has 22 rooms, including the 900sqmWashington Meeting Room, whichaccommodates up to 1,200. The Chedi Milan is a 250-room propertyoffering eight meeting rooms, the largestholding up to 30 delegates. It has a 283sqmcongress room which can accomodate 240delegates.Milan also offers a great shoppingexperience. In the city's fashion district - ViaSant'Andrea, Via della Spiga, Via Gesu andVia Montenapoleone - you will find theworld's best clothes designers, jewellers, anddesigners of furniture and householdinteriors. And if you don't mind parting withserious cash, the Brera district is awash withart galleries featuring eye-opening pieces ateye-watering prices.Opportunities to play include the AlfaRomeo Museum, which provides atestosterone-fuelled slice of car-makinghistory, while the Formula 1 circuit atMonza, about 10 miles north of the city, willsimilarly satisfy those who crave high-speedthrills. A fashion tour is, of course, afavourite incentive activity and has addedappeal when it is undertaken by vintageVespas or trams.John Lawson, director atBuckinghamshire-based creative agencyAYMTM, says that Milan offers all theelements for a great programme, whethermeeting or incentive."We took a mixed group of people rangingfrom their 30s to 60s and each foundsomething to enjoy in the city," he says."The group stayed at the Four Seasons andwere able to get about the city mainly onfoot. We also included cultural elementssuch as La Scala, the cathedral and thecastle. We had the opportunity to takeprivate boxes at the opera but when Idiscovered the opera was four hours long Idecided not to put the group through it!Instead we brought opera to them withperformances at the gala dinner in the FourSeasons. We also took in a football game atInter Milan as an incentive."Lawson also recommends stretching yourwings beyond the city walls to take in LakeComo and, in particular, Isola Comacina,the only island in Lake Como and its familyrun restaurant Locanda dell'Isola Comacina.Other city venues able to host meetings fora thousand include the Superstudio Piu,Palazsso del Ghiaccio, East End Studios andMilan has 30,000 hotel roomsthe Villa Erba.La Scala