Sustainability roadmap launched to raise standards in MICE industry in SG

Sustainability roadmap launched to raise standards in MICE industry in SG

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Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS) have launched the MICE sustainability roadmap, which sets out clear targets and strategies to raise sustainability standards across Singapore’s MICE industry over the next few years. MICE stands for meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions - an industry in Singapore. 

The MICE sustainability roadmap was launched at Sands Expo and Convention Centre, the first carbon-neutral MICE venue in Singapore, and in partnership with Climate Impact X and Unearthed Productions to ensure a low-carbon and low-waste event. The roadmap, which guides industries in the sector to meet unique sustainability goals, are part of STB’s overall strategy to build a sustainable tourism sector. The MICE sustainability roadmap is the second such initiative, following the launch of the hotel sustainability roadmap early this year. The roadmaps are guided by the Singapore Green Plan 2030 and the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals.

The MICE sustainability roadmap lists three specific targets to position Singapore as one of the most sustainable MICE destinations in Asia Pacific:

-The first target is to develop a set of sustainability standards by 2023 that the industry can readily apply and aim to be internationally recognised by 2024.
- Second, for all six purpose-built MICE venues and 80% of SACEOS members to obtain internationally or nationally recognised sustainability certification – or both – by 2025.
-Third, for the Singapore MICE industry to start tracking waste and carbon emissions by 2023, to reduce waste as aligned with the Singapore Green Plan by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 in line with the national net-zero target.

To achieve these targets, STB and SACEOS set up the MICE Sustainability Committee (MSComm) in August 2022 to raise awareness of sustainability efforts and best practices, rally the industry to adopt sustainable practices and deepen sustainability competencies. The commitment to sustainability comes on the back of strong MICE recovery following the reopening of Singapore’s borders in April this year and a growing demand for sustainable business travel. More importantly, the industry recognises the key role it plays in reducing the impact of MICE events on our environment.

Edward Koh, executive director, conventions, meetings and incentive travel, STB and co-chair of the MICE sustainability committee said, “Event delegates and corporate travelers are increasingly concerned about the environment, prompting event organisers to turn to destinations that make sustainability a priority. It is imperative that Singapore’s MICE industry evolves to meet the growing demand for responsible business travel. The MICE sustainability roadmap provides clear direction and targets to enable this transformation, eventually contributing to our national sustainability goals.”

“As MICE events continue to make a strong comeback and bring communities together again, the industry is committed to becoming more sustainable and reducing our impact on the environment. To this end, many MICE players are incorporating and prioritising sustainability in a way that is meaningful for their business proposition,” said Sukumar Verma, SACEOS vice president for industry and enterprise and co-chair of the MICE sustainability committee. Verma added that Singapore’s MICE sustainability roadmap will ensure that MICE players forge ahead in pursuing attainable and relevant sustainability goals that are tracked at appropriate milestones.

The roadmap lays out three broad strategies to guide the MICE industry.

Raise sustainability standards and strive towards internationally recognised sustainability certification, by:

  1. Developing a set of nationally recognised MICE sustainability standards in waste and carbon by 2023.
  2. Creating a consistent set of measurement methodologies focusing on waste and carbon.
  3. Encouraging the industry to obtain internationally - or locally-recognised certifications for sustainability, or both. These include the ISO 20121: sustainable events management system certification, MICE sustainability certification (MSC) and the green mark certification scheme.
  4. Supporting MICE companies with STB grants such as the business improvement fund (BIF) and training industry professionals in tourism (TIP-iT) to adopt sustainability initiatives that improve productivity and competitiveness.

Identify, trial, and adopt innovative and scalable sustainable solutions, by:

  1. Identifying pain points that impede sustainability adoption and partnering innovative technology providers to tackle challenges and co-develop industry pilots. STB will support a dedicated cohort of start-ups focusing on MICE sustainability solutions through the Singapore tourism accelerator.
  2. Leveraging the expertise of the global MICE sustainability alliance to reduce waste and the carbon footprint of exhibitions, as well as sustainable event planning.
  3. Participating in the green economy regulatory initiative (GERI), a platform for regulatory agencies to support the test-bed of new ideas and develop innovative and sustainable experiences that contribute to Singapore’s green economy, which STB is a partner of.

Raise awareness of sustainability solutions and industry best practices, by:

  1. Conducting half-yearly sustainability training for the MICE industry, while compiling other sustainability training options to make it easier for the MICE industry to sign up.
  2. Drawing from thought leadership resources, such as the white paper by STB and American express global business travel (Amex GBT) on key trends of green meetings and events, and “The Time is Now” sustainability toolkit by STB and professional convention management association (PCMA), which outlines tips and templates for event planning.
  3. Taking part in training and upskilling programmes, such as the sustainable events professional certificate (SEPC) programme by events industry council (EIC), to understand the business value of sustainability.
  4. Exchanging best practices with other top MICE destinations that participated in the global destination sustainability index (GDS-I), which measures the social and environmental performance of a destination.
  5. Encouraging businesses to incorporate sustainable leisure experiences in MICE group itineraries through STB’s In Singapore incentives and rewards (INSPIRE) Global 2.0 scheme and working with STB’s tourism partners through the Singapore MICE advantage programme (SMAP) to encourage sustainable MICE travel.

From an APAC consumers' standpoint on sustainability, most consumers these days want to live a sustainable life but the rising cost of living is preventing 67% of them from acting on their good intentions. Consumers in Thailand (76%) feel the most impact on their sustainable behaviour because of the cost of living. Those in Malaysia (72%) and the Philippines (74%) also shared similar sentiments, Kantar's latest Sustainability Sector Index 2022 in APAC found. At the same time, while APAC consumers want to be more mindful of the environment, 63% also said their day-to-day priorities get in the way.

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