Current Affairs

Sustainable Association Meetings Are Key to Success

The window to a better, more evolved future for the meetings industry is now wide open. Countries around the world need to grab—or even create—opportunities that will drive the necessary innovation and sustainability in our sector, all while maintaining the long-standing core values of business events. MEET TAIWAN remains ahead of the curve as the team has been giving priority to supporting national and international associations in an effort to build a more solid future and create more value for their events.

Words Vicky Koffa

Taiwan’s Promotion Program for business events, MEET TAIWAN, has been actively engaged throughout this whole difficult period with local associations and hosts, such as local academics and scientists, to strengthen their influence and collaborations between them and their international counterparts. Through MEET TAIWAN, international associations are reassured that there is always a bridge between them and Taiwanese stakeholders, which guarantees smooth collaborations and meaningful, successful events.

Kaohsiung Protocol in action

Such synergies create a fertile platform for a new era of events, one that focuses primarily on sustainability and safety. Indeed, Taiwan started working actively to this end already when planning the 59th International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Congress, which took place last year in the harbor city of Kaohsiung. Besides setting a bright example for the efficacy of hybrid events, the legacy of the Congress was the Kaohsiung Protocol, a framework identifying major trends and key strategies which will enable the international meetings industry to advance regenerated into the future.

ICCA had a record-breaking Congress in Kaohsiung.

Closely following this community-driven framework, MEET TAIWAN set a goal to contribute to the promotion of conferences that implement the spirit of the Kaohsiung Protocol. Such international conferences and events hosted on the island focus on sustainability influence for the host city as their primary objective and promote the development of surrounding local cities. Recent examples include the 2nd International Conference on Sustainable Development Goals: Climate Change and Green Technology (2021 ICSDGs) held in Dalin Township and TASS 2020 (Asia’s Sustainable Supply & Circular Economy Conference and Exhibition) in Kaohsiung.

MEET TAIWAN creates a knowledge platform

The road to sustainability-aware events does not come without a map. This map represents knowledge; knowledge to be shared and exchanged among event organizers, association professionals and delegates about what is ‘green’ and safe and what is not. MEET TAIWAN intends to build such a knowledge platform and provide the latest industry trends in Taiwan’s industry. This way awareness on the hot topics of sustainability and safety will be raised effectively amongst organizers and participants alike, with a view to implementing environmentally responsible practices before, during and after their event.

To ensure this, MEET TAIWAN is ready to provide its Safety Conference Activity Evaluation Guide, a directory of sorts where all safety procedures that are currently in place are explained in detail. This is quite valuable for associations as it is focused on conferences and their special needs when it comes to safety due to the large number of people involved. The guide will not just show the standards for safety, but also the epidemic prevention measures for Taiwan venues.

What’s more, MEET TAIWAN will provide associations with the Green MICE Guidelines, in place already as a concept since 2013 and reviewed and revised annually. Targeted at reducing carbon emissions and inspiring a sustainable environment, these guidelines focus on cutting travel distances, tactically reducing the amount of food consumed, promoting paperless technology, reducing wood decorations, using recycled resources and reducing energy consumption among other things. Furthermore, the guidelines include tech solutions such as the use of video walls and encourage the use of recyclable materials for decor.

According to the guidelines, business events are divided into exhibition and conference event categories. The conference event category is made of organizers, venue providers and participants. Personal transport, air conditioning and dining are the three main causes of high carbon emissions. Once more, the fact that the guidelines are targeted for conferences is a positive step towards the faster and more efficient implementation of green habits in the Taiwan meetings industry.

With the objective being to implement the 3R principles of reduce, reuse and recycle, Taiwan has also adopted the ISO 20121 standard for Sustainable Event Management. In this case, MEET TAIWAN has been encouraging meeting venues, companies, hotels and local meeting organizers to become certified in order to follow international standards and make Green MICE in Taiwan an undeniable fact. Several exhibitions and conferences, as well as venues, can now claim that they have received the ISO 20121 certification for several years in a row.

Persistence and continuity

Taiwan has long seen the beneficial impact that association conferences have on the economy, politics, social environment and industries. The MEET TAIWAN team is consistently working towards the continuous development of business events on the island, assisting associations with forming a legacy after their conference. Making Taiwan’s associations more competitive in the global market is a way to attract international conferences.

Combining this support with the endeavor to increase safety and sustainability through the unceasing implementation of predetermined guidelines will help propel Taiwan into the new era of business meetings.

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