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GSTC MICE Criteria for Events & Exhibitions

GSTC MICE Criteria for Events & ExhibitionsGSTC MICE Criteria for Events & Exhibitions with Performance Indicators and SDGs

The GSTC MICE Criteria for Events & Exhibitions with Performance Indicators and SDGs were created in an effort to come to a common understanding of sustainable MICE, and are the minimum that an event or exhibition should aspire to reach.

The GSTC MICE Criteria are organized around four main themes: effective sustainability planning, maximizing social and economic benefits for the local community, enhancing cultural heritage, and reducing negative impacts to the environment. The GSTC MICE Criteria for Events & Exhibitions are the same as for Event Organizers and Venues, but the Performance Indicators vary between each other.

The performance indicators presented here are designed to provide guidance in measuring compliance with the GSTC MICE Criteria for Events & Exhibitions.

Download the GSTC MICE Criteria for Events & Exhibitions

GSTC MICE Criteria for Events & Exhibitions – suggested performance indicators Version 1, 2024

The performance indicators presented here are designed to provide guidance in measuring compliance with the GSTC MICE Criteria for Events & Exhibitions

SECTION A: Demonstrate effective sustainable management
CriteriaIndicatorsSDGs
A1. Sustainability policy and plan

The event organizer has a sustainability policy and plan that applies to all events they organize. A person or group is responsible for implementing the policy and plan and reviewing it periodically. The policy and plan drive continuous improvement.
  1. The event organizer has a sustainability policy and a multi-year sustainability plan for the event.
  2. The policy and plan are being actively implemented. A person or group is responsible for implementing and monitoring the policy and plan.
  3. The policy and plan address the environment; the local community, economy, and culture; human rights; and health and safety.
  4. The policy and plan include measurable goals.
  5. The policy and plan include a process for monitoring continuous improvement in sustainability performance.
  6. The policy is reviewed at least every three years, and the plan is reviewed annually.
  7. The sustainability policy is approved by a senior leader of the event owner.
A2 Risk management

The event organizer manages risks and has contingency plans for unexpected situations during events.
  1. The event organizer conducts a documented analysis of risks that may affect the health and safety of people on-site at the events.
  2. The event organizer conducts a documented analysis of risks that its events may pose to the environment and the local communities and economy. The event organizer consults local stakeholders during the analysis.
  3. The event organizer has a plan to prevent and mitigate identified risks during the event.
  4. A person or group is responsible for conducting risk analyses, implementing prevention and mitigation plans, and communicating the plan to the relevant staff and stakeholders.
  5. The event organizer has an emergency and/or crisis management plan, including staff roles and consideration of people with disabilities. A person or group is responsible for maintaining and communicating the plan and facilitating its implementation when needed.
  6. All plans for preventing and mitigating risks or responding to emergencies include steps for collaborating with local authorities and stakeholders if a risk or crisis escalates beyond the event venue.
A3 Legal compliance

 The event organizer is in compliance with all applicable local and national laws and regulations.
  1. The event organizer is in compliance with all applicable local and national laws and regulations in all countries of operation, including, among others, health, safety, labor, and environmental aspects.
  2. The event organizer possesses up-to-date versions of all necessary official documents, such as permits, licenses, and certificates.
  3. The event organizer ensures that all temporary structures constituting the event venues or serving as event organizer offices comply with zoning requirements and laws related to protected and sensitive areas and heritage considerations.
A4 Reporting and communication

The event organizer communicates its sustainability policy, actions, and performance to stakeholders, including the local community, and seeks to engage their support.
  1. The event organizer makes its sustainability policy available to stakeholders and the local community.
  2. The event organizer makes its post-event sustainability performance report available online, shares it with all stakeholders, and makes the report available in an offline format upon request.
  3. All communications produced or commissioned by the event organizer, including promotions and marketing, are accurate with regard to sustainability claims. Event communications do not prematurely claim sustainability results. Communications may describe sustainability policies and plans and may refer to past performance, but results are only published once all steps have been taken to execute and measure the implementation.
  4. Sustainability actions and policies relevant to attendees are visible during the event via methods that adhere to sustainable best practices for displays and communications (see A9.8).

A5 Staff Engagement

Staff are engaged with the development and implementation of the sustainability policy and plan. Staff receive guidance and training regarding their roles and responsibilities in their delivery.
 
  1. Staff are included in the development and engaged with the implementation of the sustainability policy and plan.
  2. Staff and volunteers receive guidance and training regarding their roles and responsibilities with respect to sustainability policies, plans, and practices. Records of training or guidance are available.
  3. Staff training and guidance materials are available for reference, including in multiple languages and formats accessible to people with disabilities as needed, to train all relevant staff.
  4. The event organizer seeks feedback from staff on the sustainability policy, plan, and practices. This feedback is taken into consideration for continuous improvement.
  5. Staff have the option to submit feedback anonymously and are protected from retaliation.

A6 Stakeholder collaboration

Stakeholder feedback, including aspects of sustainability, is monitored and corrective action is taken.
  1. Stakeholder feedback, including aspects of sustainability, is monitored, analyzed, and used for continuous improvement.
  2. The event organizer communicates ways that stakeholders and attendees can support or submit feedback about the sustainability policy, plan, and implementation.
  3. The event organizer takes corrective action where appropriate, documents it, and consults the affected stakeholders for feedback.
A7 Destination sustainability

The event organizer actively considers sustainability factors when selecting event destinations. The event organizer aligns its activities to the destination’s sustainable tourism plans and goals.
  1. The event organizer is aware of the sustainability plans and goals of the DMO (Destination Management Organization) or an equivalent body in the event destination or the country.
  2. The event organizer has a documented process for evaluating sustainability characteristics of event destinations during site selection, such as certification, proximity to the attendees, or proven records of sustainability practices.

A8 Sustainable practices and materials in buildings and infrastructure

The event organizer uses local and sustainable practices and materials.
  1. The event organizer uses local materials, practices, and crafts in buildings, temporary structures, and designs where practical and appropriate.
  2. For any temporary structures, the event organizer chooses materials that are rented or can otherwise be diverted from landfills and incinerators according to its solid waste management plan (see D2.4).

A9 Purchasing and contracting

The event organizer’s purchasing policies favor sustainable, local and fair-trade suppliers and products. Purchasing procedures are managed to minimize impact on the environment.
  1. The event organizer has a written sustainable purchasing policy that prefers sustainable, local, and/or fair-trade suppliers and products when available.
  2. The sustainable purchasing policy includes event displays and decorations, food & beverage, building materials, temporary structures, promotional items, and consumables purchased directly by the event organizer.
  3. The event organizer’s sustainable purchasing policy prefers reusable or rented goods over consumable or disposable goods when available.
  4. The event organizer’s sustainable purchasing policy favors recyclable or recycled-content products when the purchase of consumable or disposable goods is unavoidable.
  5. The sustainable purchasing policy is being actively implemented.
  6. Contracts with suppliers include environmental sustainability requirements relevant to each supplier, including a target percentage of sustainability-certified products as applicable.
  7. The event organizer provides exhibitors with guidance about sustainable procurement, especially of booths and displays.
  8. Signs, banners, and other on-site displays and communications posted by the event organizer are displayed electronically, saved for future reuse, or printed on locally recyclable materials.

SECTION B: Maximize social and economic benefits to the local community and minimize negative impacts
CriteriaIndicatorsSDGs
B1 Community support

The event organizer supports the local community.
  1. The event organizer supports the local community financially or in-kind in the event destination in areas of need identified by the local community. Examples of support include contributions to projects led by local partners relating to the local environment, culture, education, training, health, or sanitation.
  2. The level and nature of contributions made to schemes in the local community are recorded.
  3. The event organizer monitors the local cultural climate and takes it into consideration when planning the event program to avoid culturally insensitive events or performances.

B2 Local employment

Local residents are given opportunities for employment.
  1. The event organizer prefers local residents from the event destination for all temporary positions.
  2. The event organizer monitors the number and proportion of employment it provides for local residents.

B3 Community services

The activities of the event organizer do not jeopardize the provision of basic services. A feedback mechanism is in place for communities in the event destination, and any reduction in the availability of basic services caused by the event organizer is addressed.
  1. The event organizer collaborates with the event destination to determine the scale of the event, with consideration of the local infrastructure and environment.
  2. The activities of the event organizer do not jeopardize the provision of basic food and water, energy, health, and sanitation services to neighboring communities in the event destination.
  3. A communication mechanism is in place for local communities to report any reductions in the availability of basic food and water, energy, health, and sanitation services in the areas of the event operations.
  4. The event organizer takes corrective action where appropriate, documents it, and consults the affected stakeholders for feedback.

B4 Local livelihoods

The activities of the event organizer do not restrict local access to livelihoods. A communication mechanism is in place for local communities to report instances of restricted access, and corrective action is taken where appropriate.
  1. The activities of the event organizer do not restrict local access to livelihoods, including land and aquatic resource use.
  2. The activities of the event organizer do not restrict access to rights-of-way and transport.
  3. The activities of the event organizer do not restrict access to local residences.
  4. A communication mechanism is in place for local communities to report any instance of restricted access to transport, local residences, and local livelihoods in the areas of the event operations.
  5. The event organizer takes corrective action where appropriate, documents it, and consults the affected stakeholders for feedback.

B5 Code of conduct

The event organizer has a code of conduct to guide the behavior of staff, suppliers, exhibitors, and attendees.
  1. The code of conduct reflects the event organizer’s policies regarding exploitation, harassment, and human trafficking (see B6).
  2. The code of conduct encourages respectful treatment toward all people regardless of race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, parental status, national origin, age, disability, or political affiliation.
  3. The code of conduct includes guidelines for interactions with children, including guidance on appropriate physical contact. In particular, taking photos or videos of children, giving gifts to children, and accepting gifts from children are discouraged without the permission of the child and the child’s parent or legal guardian.
  4. The code of conduct includes guidelines for interactions with vulnerable and marginalized groups, including people with disabilities. In particular, taking photos or videos of adults in the local community is discouraged without the subject’s permission.
  5. The event organizer communicates the code of conduct to staff, suppliers, exhibitors, and attendees.
  6. The event organizer provides staff guidance and training about the code of conduct. Records or evidence of training or guidance are available.

B6 Exploitation, harassment, and human trafficking

The event organizer has implemented a policy against sexual or any other form of exploitation, harassment, and human trafficking, including forced labor, particularly for children, adolescents, women, Indigenous people, minorities, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups.
  1. The event organizer has a written policy against sexual or any other form of exploitation, harassment, human trafficking, including forced labor.
  2. The policy includes procedures for monitoring event activities for exploitation, harassment and human trafficking, including forced labor, as well as procedures for reporting and responding to incidents.
  3. The policy covers children, adolescents, women, and other vulnerable groups such as minorities, Indigenous people, people with disabilities, etc.
  4. The policy is communicated internally and to the stakeholders.
  5. The policy is being actively implemented.
  6. The event organizer is engaged with initiatives and efforts against exploitation, harassment and human trafficking, including forced labor.
  7. Supplier contracts include a zero-tolerance clause for exploitation, harassment, human trafficking including forced labor.
  8. The event organizer provides staff with guidance and training relevant to their roles in recognizing and reporting incidents of exploitation or harassment. Records or evidence of training or guidance is available.

B7 Access for all

The event organizer provides access and information for people with disabilities, pregnant and nursing mothers, people with allergies, and the elderly.
  1. The event organizer incorporates access for people with disabilities, pregnant and nursing mothers, people with allergies, and the elderly into the event design.
  2. Upon request, the event organizer collaborates with the venue to provide additional accessibility services or equipment when feasible.
  3. The event organizer shares information with attendees prior to the event in accessible formats, about accessibility and how to request accessibility services.
  4. The event organizer seeks feedback from staff and attendees about accessibility and inclusion practices. This feedback is used for continuous improvement.
  5. The event organizer provides staff with guidance and training regarding their roles and responsibilities related to accessibility and inclusion. Records of training or guidance are available.

B8 Employment inclusion and equality

The event organizer promotes inclusion and equal opportunities, including in management positions, without discrimination.
  1. The event organizer has been trained in recognizing bias and discrimination and has identified groups at risk of discrimination in the event destination, including women, local minorities, Indigenous people, and people with disabilities.
  2. The event organizer offers employment opportunities without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, parental status, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation, or other non-merit-based factors.

B9 Decent work

Labor rights are respected, a safe and secure working environment is provided, and staff are compensated appropriately. Staff are offered appropriate training.
  1. The event organizer complies with International Labor Organization (ILO) standards and regulations.
  2. The event organizer provides a safe and secure working environment for all staff.
  3. Water, sanitation, first aid access, and hygiene facilities are provided for all on-site staff and volunteers.
  4. The event organizer pays staff no less than the legal minimum wage in the event destination. If there is no local minimum wage, the event organizer pays staff a wage that is comparable to local wages for similar work.
  5. The event organizer provides full-time staff with health insurance (if healthcare is not provided universally in the employee’s country) and participates in the national social security program, if available. The event organizer has a program to cover costs for staff for job-related injuries and illnesses.
  6. The event organizer monitors staff job satisfaction.
  7. The event organizer offers staff training appropriate to their roles.

SECTION C: Maximize benefits to cultural heritage and minimize negative impacts
CriteriaIndicatorsSDGs
C1 Cultural interactions

The event organizer consults with local communities and Indigenous groups regarding visits to cultural sites. A communication mechanism is in place for local communities to report adverse impacts from visitors, and corrective action is taken where appropriate.
  1. The event organizer consults with Indigenous groups to determine appropriate behavior and recognition prior to any visits to Indigenous communities or sites of cultural or historical significance to Indigenous groups.
  2. The event organizer follows local regulations and guidance from impacted local communities regarding any visits to culturally or historically sensitive sites.
  3. The event organizer does not include visits to orphanages or residential care facilities as part of the event program.
  4. The event organizer provides staff that are not local to the event destination with guidance about appropriate behavior in light of local customs, traditions, and etiquette.
  5. A communication mechanism is in place for local communities and Indigenous people to report adverse impacts from visitors.
  6. The event organizer takes corrective action where appropriate, documents it, and consults the affected stakeholders for feedback.

C2 Protecting cultural heritage

The event organizer prevents damage to cultural artifacts and does not impede local residents’ access to local properties, sites, and traditions of historical, archaeological, cultural, and spiritual significance.

  1. The event organizer does not fully restrict local residents’ access to properties, sites, and traditions of historical, archaeological, cultural, and spiritual significance during the hours when they are regularly accessible by the public.
  2. The event organizer takes necessary actions to prevent damage to or theft of any historical and archaeological artifacts on display during the event.
C3 Presenting culture and heritage

The event organizer incorporates authentic elements of traditional and contemporary local culture. The event organizer consults with local and Indigenous groups as applicable about its presentations of culture and respects intellectual property rights.

  1. The event organizer incorporates authentic elements of traditional and/or contemporary local culture in its venue selection, operations, design, decoration, cuisine, or shops.
  2. The event organizer respects intellectual property rights, including those of local and Indigenous communities.
  3. The event organizer consults with local and Indigenous communities as applicable about the presentation of local cultural heritage.

Section D: Maximize benefits to the environment and minimize negative impacts
D1 Conserving resources
CriteriaIndicatorsSDGs
D1.1 Energy conservation

Energy consumption is measured by type and steps are taken to minimize overall consumption. The event organizer makes efforts to increase its use of renewable energy.

  1. The event organizer has a written energy conservation/efficiency policy.
  2. The event organizer measures the energy used in its operations and the energy use over which it has direct influence or control. Energy is measured by type, such as gas, electricity, transportation fuel, etc. Data may be measured directly by the event organizer or collected from relevant stakeholders.
  3. The event organizer uses renewable energy sources when available for office operations and during events.
  4. The event organizer takes steps to minimize the overall consumption of energy. For example, the event organizer may select an energy-efficient venue and/or turn off equipment and vehicles that are not in use.
  5. The event organizer has specific annual reduction targets for energy consumption for each occurrence of the event (calculated as total consumption divided by the number of attendees).
  6. The event organizer provides guidance to suppliers, exhibitors, attendees, and staff on minimizing energy use.
D1.2 Water conservation

Water consumption is measured, and steps are taken to minimize overall consumption. Water sourcing is sustainable and does not adversely affect the environment.
  1. The event organizer has a written water conservation policy.
  2. The event organizer requests its water consumption data from the venue and other suppliers with significant water usage.
  3. The event organizer takes steps to minimize overall water consumption.
  4. The event organizer has water reduction targets for each occurrence of the event (calculated as total consumption divided by the number of attendees).
  5. The event organizer provides guidance to suppliers, exhibitors, attendees, and staff on minimizing water use.
D2 Reducing pollution
CriteriaIndicatorsSDGs
D2.1 Greenhouse gas emissions

The event organizer measures the event’s greenhouse gas emissions, has specific reduction targets, and has a plan to avoid and reduce emissions. The remaining emissions are offset.
  1. The event organizer measures greenhouse gas emissions in Scope 1, Scope 2, and areas of significant influence in Scope 3 for the event.
  2. The event organizer has specific greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for the event aligned with recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidance.
  3. The event organizer has a written plan to avoid and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the event. For example, the event organizer may offer virtual attendance options or reduce the amount of meat served.
  4. The plan is being actively implemented.
  5. The event organizer encourages and collaborates with suppliers to avoid and reduce significant greenhouse gas emissions.
  6. The event organizer offsets some or all of its greenhouse gas emissions that remain after avoidance and reduction efforts.
  7. The event organizer has a policy to prefer offsets that remove carbon rather than offsets that avoid emissions and to select carbon offsets that are additional, permanent, and verified by a credible organization.
D2.2 Transport

The event organizer seeks to reduce transportation requirements and actively encourages the use of cleaner and more resource-efficient alternatives.
  1. The event organizer has a written policy to minimize transport requirements and prefers the cleanest and most resource-efficient transport methods available.
  2. The event organizer actively encourages event staff to use the cleanest and most resource-efficient transport alternatives available, including public mass transit, for commuting and event operations.
  3. The event organizer actively encourages exhibitors, attendees, and suppliers to use the cleanest and most resource-efficient transport and freight alternatives available and practical, including public mass transit.
  4. The event organizer implements strategies for minimizing the use of single-occupancy vehicles by attendees, including transfers between the destination’s primary arrival points and the event venue.

D2.3 Wastewater

Wastewater has no adverse effects on the local population and the environment.

  1. The event organizer requests information from the venue or local officials about wastewater treatment arrangements at the venue.
  2. For events where wastewater disposal is not provided by the venue, wastewater resulting from the event is disposed of to a municipal or government-approved treatment system, if available.
  3. For events where wastewater disposal is not provided by the venue, and if suitable municipal wastewater treatment is not available, the event organizer works with local authorities to ensure that wastewater has no adverse impacts on people and the environment.

D2.4 Solid waste

The event organizer measures waste from the event and has mechanisms in place to reduce waste and reuse, donate, or recycle materials. Any residual waste disposal has no adverse effect on the local population or environment.
  1. The event organizer measures solid waste from the event by relevant waste types, such as food waste, recyclables, waste to landfill, and waste to incinerator, as applicable.
  2. The event organizer has goals in place to reduce overall solid waste from each occurrence of the event (calculated as total waste divided by number of attendees).
  3. The event organizer has an active solid waste management plan. The plan includes actions to reduce overall waste as well as reuse, donate, or recycle materials. The plan addresses food waste and construction materials where applicable.
  4. event organizer has a program in place to collect and divert waste from landfills and incinerators (including waste-to-energy facilities) and collaborates with the venue as needed to implement it.
  5. The event’s waste diversion rate is equal to or greater than the national or municipal average recycling rate of the event location, whichever is greater, if available.
  6. The event organizer has measures in place to prevent event waste from entering the local environment.
  7. The event organizer has a recycling program for batteries and electronic waste, such as computers, peripherals, printer cartridges, and appliances. Electronics that are still usable are reused or donated rather than recycled.
  8. The event organizer gives guidance on minimizing waste to exhibitors, suppliers, attendees, and staff.

D2.5 Harmful substances

The event organizer minimizes the use of harmful substances and substitutes when they are available with innocuous products or processes.
  1. The event organizer requests safety data sheets (SDS) for any harmful substances brought on-site by exhibitors.
  2. The event organizer requests from the venue safety data sheets (SDS) for all harmful substances used by the venue, including pesticides, paints, disinfectants, and cleaning materials.
  3. The event organizer requests that the venue and exhibitors substitute the use of harmful substances with environmentally certified alternatives when available.
  4. The event organizer posts relevant safety warnings about harmful substances for attendees and staff.

D2.6 Minimize pollution

The event organizer implements practices to minimize pollution from noise, light, runoff, erosion, ozone-depleting substances, and air, water, and soil contaminants.
  1. The event organizer reviews and identifies potential sources of pollution from its activities during the event, including noise, light, runoff, erosion, ozone-depleting substances, and air, water, and soil contaminants.
  2. The event organizer takes action to minimize and, where possible, eliminate pollution during events from noise, light, and other sources listed in the criterion as applicable, collaborating with the venue as needed.

D3 Conserving biodiversity, ecosystems and landscapes
CriteriaIndicatorsSDGs
D3.1 Biodiversity conservation

The event organizer supports biodiversity conservation and minimizes disturbances to natural ecosystems.
  1. The event organizer works with local conservation bodies to identify natural protected areas, areas of high biodiversity value, and wildlife and habitats in the event locations that its operations may impact.
  2. The event organizer has a written plan to avoid and mitigate activities with the potential to disturb the areas identified above.
  3. The event organizer funds the rehabilitation of natural ecosystems that are disturbed or damaged by its event activities.


D3.2 Invasive species

The event organizer takes measures to avoid the introduction of invasive species.
  1. The event organizer provides guidelines to relevant stakeholders to avoid the introduction of invasive species.
  2. When using live plants for landscaping and decoration, the event organizer procures native or endemic plants and avoids invasive species.

D3.3 Natural sites and wildlife interactions

The event organizer manages visits to natural sites, wildlife interactions, and procurement from the wild in order to minimize adverse impacts.
  1. When organizing visits to natural sites or wildlife interactions as part of the event, the event organizer complies with guidelines from local conservation bodies or relevant local authorities to minimize adverse impacts on the environment and wildlife, if applicable.
  2. For any visits to natural sites or wildlife interactions that are part of the event, the event organizer provides attendees with guidelines from local conservation bodies or relevant local authorities to minimize adverse impacts to the environment and wildlife, if applicable.
  3. If working with suppliers for wildlife viewing or interactions in the event destination, the event organizer conducts due diligence to ensure suppliers are in compliance with local and national regulations and guidelines concerning wildlife.
  4. The event organizer conducts due diligence to ensure suppliers and exhibitors that provide or exhibit wildlife or products from the wild are in compliance with local and national regulations concerning wildlife harvesting and trade.
  5. The event organizer informs attendees about regulations concerning wildlife harvesting, consumption, and trade and the need to avoid buying illegal products/souvenirs derived from threatened species of wildlife notified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

D3.4 Wildlife interactions

The event organizer supports the welfare of any animals at the event.
  1. If any wild or domestic animals are present at the event, their housing, care, and handling comply with local and national regulations regarding animal welfare in the event destination. Personnel responsible for animal care regularly inspect the conditions of animals and their housing.
  2. Personnel responsible for animal care have appropriate qualifications and experience and are fully licensed, if applicable.
  3. The event organizer does not participate in the acquisition, breeding, or captivity of wild animals except by authorized and suitably equipped persons in compliance with local and international law.
  4. The event organizer does not contract with suppliers or exhibitors that capture animals from the wild for the purposes of entertainment, display, or sale.
  5. If working with suppliers to provide or care for on-site animals, the event organizer conducts due diligence to ensure suppliers are in compliance with local and national regulations concerning animal welfare and captive wildlife, if applicable.

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  • The GSTC encourages broad use and application of the GSTC Criteria, which are available from this website free of charge for their non-commercial use.
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