Is Green Getting Tired?
is just a fad and that we all need to get back to business as usual. After deep introspection, even a sustainable AV proponent can understand why people may come to feel this way. But the fact is, more and more practioners of green AV are quietly toiling away. Their experiences will demonstrate that this isn't just a fad. PRO AV's Midori Connolly explores.
We also need to prepare for standards. Over the course of the past year, a team of volunteers spent hundreds of hours developing a new set of international standards for green meetings and events. For the first time in history, AV is now a consideration when planning a green event. The first draft of standards is undergoing peer review through the Convention Industry Council's Accepted Practices Exchange. In October, the revised standards will be submitted to the ASTM International's subcommittee for sustainability, with final ASTM approval expected by December. While these standards are focused on rental and staging, they offer a solid jumping-off point for the overall industry. Who are rental and staging pros if not AV practitioners?
Recent conversations on InfoComm's Green AV online forum have centered largely on the desire for some form of standards and certification for manufacturers and their products. In an attempt to address these requests, InfoComm's Green AV Task Force and John Fuchs of the InfoComm iQ manufacturer database have teamed up to determine how to provide manufacturers with a platform for educating AV professionals on what, if anything, is green about their products and/or organizations. While not a certification of any type, it at least offers a one-to-many means for a manufacturer to communicate any steps it has taken to improve its sustainability.
Rubber, Meet Road
Taking these developments into account, I feel reassured. Progress is being made. But one nagging question remains: "Is anyone else doing anything green?" Casting around, a few silent leaders are beginning to emerge, such as Audio Video Systems (AVS) in Chantilly, Va. The integrator's green plan includes a new LEED-certified headquarters, which may prove to be the easy part. AVS's green leader Allan Childers explains that the company's adoption of green processes and procedures entails a long-term plan, implemented in phases. Childers' grassroots team has buy-in from company leaders after studying green AV and concluding there's not only a business case for sustainability, but also a clear set of values that's in line with AVS's own corporate values. (The company's owner also owns an organic farm.)
And what's happening at AVS is taking place at other AV firms. In April, I stood on a stage and declared that in five years, "green" as a label will be gone because green businesses will be like any other business. And therein lies the answer to my nagging green doubt. The fact is, we have data that justifies sustainability in business. We have a government that's supporting-or even mandating-a new green economy. We still may be on our way to solid standards, but what feels like stagnation today is just the quiet while green AV practitioners toil away at implementation, focused on long-term results. From their work will come the best practices and tangible results, until one day earth-friendly toilet paper is just toilet paper, and green AV is just AV.
Midori Connolly is CEO of Pulse Staging and Events in San Diego, a member of the Green Meeting Industry Council, a corporate social responsibility trainer for Meeting Professionals International, and an InfoComm lecturer on green AV topics.