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Is Your Association "Walking the Talk"?

Destination Marketing Association International
Recently I attended the annual convention and business exchange of DMAI, the Destination Marketing Association International.  As a trade association regrouping Convention & Visitor Bureaus (CVBs, a.k.a. Destination Marketing Organizations or DMOs), DMAI is essentially an association of associations.

This was my first attendance at the event, and I learned a lot about what DMOs face such as pressures from their own members, government funding, etc.

But one item struck me as ironic and unfortunate.

DMAI advocates Corporate Social Responsibility for its members.  The convention program even featured on a session on CSR with Jonathan Greenblatt, co-founder of Ethos Water (which is sold at Starbucks).

An informative session it was, except that message rang false for me because of what was happening in the coffee breaks...  Because of my long-time association with MPI, CSR to me also means the "greening" of meetings.  Imagine my disappointment when I saw the coffee break stations had paper coffee cups and plastic lids, as well as the usual china.  Even more disappointing was that most people were reaching for the disposable stuff before going back to their session.  Why?

Aren't china cups a greener solution?  And given the choice, why would delegates choose disposables unless they are going to leave the premises (which most DMAI delegates were not)?  Why would the Westin Diplomat, which presumably abides by the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Environmental Sustainability Policy, even offer the paper cup alternative?  Did I miss something?

I walked away feeling like perhaps DMAI was not walking the talk, and needed to learn more about CSR and the greening of business tourism. The experience made me think.  Are we walking the talk?  Are the other associations I belong to walking the talk.  Is your association walking the talk?  Please share your thoughts...