First Affirmative Financial Network and the Social Investment Forum, hosts of the 19th annual SRI in the Rockies Conference, have designed their 2008 event to be a “green meeting.” This year’s conference is expected to draw a record 700 sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) industry practitioners and professionals to Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, October 26–28, 2008.
According to the Convention Industry Council's definition, a green meeting is “a meeting or event that incorporates environmental considerations to minimize its negative impact on the environment.”
George Gay, CEO of First Affirmative, is planning for the 2008 SRI in the Rockies Conference to be a model of social responsibility, and not only with regard to the environment. “It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the changes necessary to create a genuinely ‘green’ meeting,” says Gay. “But whatever we do now—even simply asking questions of hotels—contributes to the momentum that will move green meetings to the mainstream.”
As part of First Affirmative’s conference planning process, hotels are asked to complete a request for proposal (RFP) that includes the Best Practices Survey developed by the Green Hotel Initiative (GHI). Hotels that fail to address the RFP's sustainability questions or to complete the GHI survey are eliminated from consideration.
The SRI in the Rockies request for proposal also includes extensive questions regarding a hotel's sustainability efforts, such as whether or not the property has evaluated its carbon footprint, is LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), uses locally grown and/or organic food, has a recycling program, and exhibits a commitment to energy efficiency in its operation.
“It's an evolutionary, rather than a revolutionary, process,” says First Affirmative President, Steve Schueth. “As we continue to raise the bar on this event each year, we encourage more green events and conventions across the spectrum.”
Greening SRI in the Rockies includes working with hotel staff onsite to create awareness as well as lowering energy usage. For example, rather than daily room delivery of newspapers, they are distributed by request. At meals, pitchers of water and other beverages are made available with empty glasses rather than all glasses being pre-filled; bottled water is not available. When attendees enter their rooms, they will find that the television is off, as is all superfluous lighting. Rather than housekeeping replacing bed linens and towels daily, they are instructed to replace them only upon request. The Conference has a Recycling Sponsor, and a Carbon Offset Sponsor. For additional information, please go to http://www.sriintherockies.com/d/SRIR08_Sustainability.pdf.
This year’s conference venue, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, has been awarded a 4 Green Key Rating in the Green Key Eco-Rating Program. For more information, please go to http://www.hotelassociation.ca/site/programs/green_key.htm.
A new study, “The Green Event Imperative” by the Event Marketing Institute, found that investment in green event marketing could double over the next 18 months. But the study also found that companies claiming to be active in green initiatives have a significant gap between their participation and their level of commitment.
ABOUT FIRST AFFIRMATIVE
First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC (www.FirstAffirmative.com) is an independent fee-only Registered Investment Advisor (SEC File #801-5687). The company, which manages about $700 million in client portfolios, offers consulting and asset management services through a nationwide network of investment professionals who specialize in serving socially conscious investors. First Affirmative produces the annual SRI in the Rockies Conference (www.SRIintheRockies.com), the premier conference for the sustainable and responsible investment industry in North America.
ABOUT THE SOCIAL INVESTMENT FORUM
The Social Investment Forum (SIF) is the U.S. membership association dedicated to advancing the concept, practice, and growth of socially and environmentally responsible investing. SIF members integrate economic, environmental, social, and governance factors into their investment decisions. SIF membership includes more than 500 social investment practitioners and institutions, including financial professionals, analysts, portfolio managers, banks, mutual funds, researchers, foundations, community development organizations, and public educators. More information about the Forum, including the 2007 Report on Socially Responsible Investing Trends in the United States, is available at www.socialinvest.org.
REGISTRATION AND SPONSORSHIPS
To register to attend the conference, go to www.sriintherockies.com/register.jsp. For assistance with registration and sponsorships, please contact Krystala Kalil at 303-442-4463 / krystala@SRIintheRockies.com.
Mo Shafroth for First Affirmative and SRI in the Rockies: 720-470-3653 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick Mitchell for the Social Investment Forum: 703-276-3266 / email@example.com