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January 23, 2014

Making Meetings Greener: New Initiatives for Eco-Friendly Events (VIDEO)

Eco-friendly meetings and events are no longer a trend, but a new way of doing business. Conference centers, hotels and CVBs around the world are launching initiatives to reduce carbon footprints and preserve local environments while maintaining a high standard of service.

Geneva Hotels Support Conservation

In Switzerland, the Geneva Convention Bureau partnered with conference hotels to set up a Green Daily Delegate Rate that includes a a donation of 1 CHF per delegate to the Association pour la Sauvegarde du Léman (Lake Geneva Conservation Society), which works to protect the lake and preserve the quality of its water. 

The member hotels include the Grand Hôtel Kempinski Geneva, Mövenpick Hotel & Casino Geneva, Hôtel Novotel Geneva Centre, Hôtel Ramada Encore Geneva and the Hotel Warwick Geneva. 

Palexpo, Geneva’s largest conference center, has launched a waste management policy that recycles 80 percent of waste generated on-site, and installed the largest bank of photovoltaic solar panels in Switzerland on its roof. These panels generate enough electricity to power 1,020 homes each year.

Adelaide Convention Centre Reaches Gold

In South Australia, the Adelaide Convention Centre (ACC) has achieved Gold Certification under the EarthCheck environmental program. The certification follows the Centre achieving five years of continuous silver certification and  significantly reducing its environmental footprint.

During this period, the Centre became the first convention center to use earthworms to recycle its organic waste, reduced its gas consumption by more than 8 percent, reduced water consumption by 10.7 percent and re-used or re-cycled 90 percent of its exhibition waste.

Under EarthCheck, the Centre has performed above best practices in seven key areas of natural resource use reduction. Even better, the new environmental benchmarks were achieved while the Centre continued to grow its business and the number of events and delegates visiting the Centre.

Beyond the earthworm farm that disposes of kitchen scraps, the Centre also has an on-site BiobiN composting vessel with an aeration system. It has also formed partnerships with Foodbank SA and OzHarvest Adelaide to ensure that any surplus meals from an unexpected drop in event numbers are put to good use.

Internally, the Centre’s environmental innovation is driven by the ‘Green Team’ - a committee of volunteers who research and develop ideas and mentor other employees in environmentally responsible practices.

How You Can Help

According to GreenBiz.com, the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards (ASTM Green Meeting Standards for short) were developed by meeting planners who are looking to keep their events eco-friendly (pictured below). The standards, which cover a wide range of event elements (think hotels, transportation, food & beverage and more) are reportedly being adopted by a growing number of planners. More information about the standards and how to apply them to different conferences, meetings and events is available at ASTM.org.

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About the Author: Jena Tesse Fox

Jena Tesse Fox





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