Sustainability reporting on the social and environmental impacts of the 2011 European Ecology Federation Congress in Avila Spain. Shares ideas and progress on how to implement sustainability into an event.
Responding to the need for change.2011 European Prepared by MCI Sustainability ServicesEcological Federation November 2011Congress Sustainability Report
Within the board at European Ecological FederationFOREWORD (EEF), we felt it was important to integrate sustainability into the organisation of the 12th EEF Congress. This year we started with some good practical actions. We have created this report together with MCI Sustainability Services to inform our stakeholders and to share our learnings with the organizers of future conferences. This is the first sustainability report for an EEF congress. It provides an evaluation of the sustainability of the event management system and the logistical processes followed. It presents a summary of the key material actions implemented and the environmental performance of the event. The document closes with a list of practical recommendations that the next EEF congress, or any other event, could follow to bring improved results and returns. We hope that our actions inspire others both in Spain and beyond to do more to “walk the talk” and show that events can be aligned with our principles of sustainable development and find a balance between economic, social and environmental considerations Profesor Dr. Fernando Valladares President of the Spanish Association for Terrestrial Ecology (AEET)
CONTENTS Context 3 Sustainability approach 5 How sustainable was the event? 7 Event emissions footprint 10 Key successes 12 Key learnings 14 Ecological offsetting 15 Recommendations for increasing performance 16 Credits and acknowledgements 17
Event backgroundCONTEXT The 12th EEF Congress was held at the Centro to how the ecological community is responding de Congresos y Exposiciones Lienzo Norte in to global change on ecosystems, and how they Avila from the 25th to 29th September 2011. It are enabling solutions that help mitigate these was organised on behalf of EEF by the Spanish negative impacts. Association for Terrestrial Ecology (AEET) and the Portuguese Ecological Society (SPECO) The event was organised in collaboration with MCI Madrid who served as the Professional The event united over 1000 leading scientific Congress Organiser (PCO) to organize minds from over 57 countries to discuss and registration, logistics, accommodation, venue advance the work of the scientific ecological and financial management for the event community. The motto of the Congress was “Responding to Rapid Environmental Change”, and over 36 sessions were dedicated
SUSTAINABILITY SustainabilityAPPROACH SystemsSustainability The EEF Code of Conduct outlined clear expectations for supplier This was the first EEF Congress to incorporate sustainability intoVision compliance to ethical, responsible and sustainable business practices the organisation of the event., To provide a structure (or system) forThe 12th EEF Congress will Event suppliers were asked to sustainable event organisationdemonstrate sustainability in action agree to the principles outlined in the organizers adopted the MCIin Avila. It will be a documented the EEF Code of Conduct with a Sustainable Event Managementindustry reference on how to signature of a senior manager in the (SEM) framework. Continued useorganise a sustainable Congress in organization... of the system will more easily allowSpain. EEF to migrate to the ISO20121 •Supplier Engagement: sustainable event management Through a series of interviews, standards in the future.Sustainable key suppliers were evaluated regarding sustainable practices and were offered coaching andEvent recommendations for improved results.Management •Sustainable Procurement: KeyActivities The EEF event management team made a series of decisions in the Sustainability•Strategic Planning: The planning purchasing of material and services to reduce environmental impacts. Issuesteam leaders met to identify Actions included procurement of more responsible options for Carbon Emissions resultinga strategy for the sustainable from delegate transport andperformance of the event and merchandising, printing, catering as local event operationscreated customized targets and well as the selection of locally basedKey Performance Indicators to help suppliers and a logistics team. Waste produced by the venuemeasure event success. The action during the EEF 2011 congressplan was presented and approved •On Site Audit:by the EEF board. Independent verification of actions Sustainability of food and on the part of the hotel, venue, beverage options•Supplier Code of Conduct: catering, and transportation Quality and event experienceInspired by the United Nations suppliers followed by aGlobal Compact, a Supplier Code of documentation of results. Lack of application ofConduct was prepared for the event. sustainable practiceswithin local meetings industry
PerformancetoSustainability 1. Measure and reduce carbon emissions through procurement policies and transportation strategies (to include ACHIEVED walking & train usage)ObjectivesThe following objectives wereidentified after reviewing event 2. Offset a minimum of 50% of total CO2 emissions generated by the event ACHIEVED. 100% of carbon emissions offset.issues, risks and opportunities.In the right hand column of thischart, performance to theseobjectives is noted. 3. Reduce waste to landfill or incinerator: Divert through recycling, composting, reusing or donating a minimum of 50% of ACHIEVED waste produced by the venue during the congress 4. Generate income for the local economy, by contracting a minimum of 60% of ACHIEVED suppliers from the city and surrounding areas 5. Develop a gastronomic offering for the participants that highlights local culture and sustainable growing solutions by ACHIEVED using a minimum of 50% from local providers (<160km) and by serving a minimum of 30% organic products 6. Raise awareness and commitment to AWARENESS improving sustainable business practices within the local meetings industry. INCREASED AND CONTINUING 7
HOW The MeetGreen® Calculator was developed by MeetGreen® and was reviewed by a five member technical advisory committee (with backgrounds in the environmental andSUSTAINABLE sustainability industries. Since its launch in 2004. MeetGreen® has been updated to align with aspects of the British Standard (BS 8901) for Sustainable Events andWAS THE APEX/ASTM Green Meetings and Events Standards. MeetGreen®EVENT? Evaluation Using the MeetGreen® system the 12th EEFEnvironmental Congress earned a total score of “54%” (of aSustainability possible maximum of 100%) which correlates to a rating of “3” stars on the MeetGreen performance index. This score is above theThe MeetGreen® calculator was selected as the average score of 44 but lower than the score forsystem to influence and evaluate the performance similar events. However this is a very good andof selected planner and supplier actions. It analyses, commendable score considering that this wasmeasures and benchmarks over 160 facets of event the first EEF Congress to consider sustainabilitypolicy, practices and outcomes across ten categories: in its organisation, and it was held in a city and venue new to the concept of sustainable events. Audio Visual When initially measured, six months before Destination Selection the event EEF performance earned a rating of Accommodations 15. The increase to 54% is recognition of the power of teamwork from MCI, EEF and the Meeting Venue Venue. It demonstrates the results of making a Transportation common commitment to collaborate in support of sustainability. At the same time it clearly Food & Beverage identifies areas for improved performance (see Exhibition Production Recommendations for Improved Performance). Communications and Marketing Onsite Office Offsets
D graph. es tin at io n 78% Ac co m m od at io of the the areas in the ns evaluated performance During the onsite audit, 41% M MCI Sustainability Services ee relative category scores can be observed in the following tin g MeetGreenTM calculator. The Ve n ue 64% Av er ag e sc or e 26% Av 44% ev er en ag ts e ab sco ou reCo t s fo m us r s m ta im un 61% in ila ica ab r tio ili pe ty e ns r & 61% M ar ke tin g H ig 78% he st sc O or e ns it e 1 81% of fic M 2th e ay EE 20 F 79% 11 Co n gr Au e ss di -s o co Vi re su - al 15% 17% 1 -F 2th O in EE ffs al at sc F C s or on e gr e ss 100% 55%9
CARBON The EEF event produced a measurable total of 480 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), or an average of 0.5 tons CO2 per participant. In practical terms, this is equal to the total annual emissions of 68 Spanish Inhabitants (Source:EMISSIONS UNFCC). As expected, the biggest CO2 emissions impact is from air transport with over 80% of total event-relatedFOOTPRINT emissions. This value is lower than average values for similar events. This is due to the selection of Avila as the destination, and the relatively high number of people who arrived by train. It is worth noting that long distance train transport produces just 10% (estimated) of the emissions of flying. For example the average emissions of a flight from Barcelona to Madrid is 140kg CO2 while the emissions from the high speed Ave train it is only 14kg CO2 (Source. RENFE).
KEYSUCCESSESDestination and to create and introduce a customised waste management plan. electricity and gas were consumed during the six days of set up,venue selection Waste was reduced by using china event and break down at the venue. According to the Spanish Association for the Electricity cups, glasses and water jugs asThe selection of Avila and the Lienzo opposed to disposable products. Industry (UNESA), the averageNorte Congress Centre increased Where disposable cups were used, a Spanish electricity consumptionthe overall sustainability of the event. product made from recyclable paper per capita is 5721KWh.Avila is a small city with excellent was selected. Recycling bins werebus and train connections to Madrid. Printing purchased and installed at strategicAll major hotels are within walking points throughout the centre:distance of the congress center, and Student volunteers were assigned toso reduced the need for delegates improve recycling and the venue staff All EEF and MCI documentsto use taxis or public transport emptied and measured the amount were printed on recycled paper.to reach the centre. This efficient of waste diverted from the landfill. Through the increased use of theinfrastructure reduced carbon website and giving all participantsemissions. a USB flash card, paper usage forOpened in 2009, the Lienzo Norte You cant delegate programs and handouts was reduced to only 350kg ofCongress Centre has sophisticatedenergy management, cooling and manage what paper.lighting systems. Combined withan architecture that favour natural you don’t Waste Divertionlighting and unassisted air flowthe building has very low carbonemissions, and ensures a pleasurable measure Metal and Plastic Recycledwork atmosphere. By the end of the EEF event, the 570 Kg, 50% Congress Centre staff were able to provide a full measurement of water,Reduce, waste and energy consumption per day. Glass Recycked 35 Kg, 3%Reuse, Recycle Over 940kg of waste was diverted Organic/Landlill 190 Kg,17%Prior to the event, the Congress from the landfill to give aCentre did not have a waste commendable recycling/diversion Paper Recycled 338 Kg, 30%management system designed to rate of 83%.divert waste from the landfill. MCIworked with the venue management 12225 Kilowatt hours (KWh) of 11
REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE REPORTBY MANAGING THE RECYCLING PROCESSES OVER 83% OF THE WASTE WAS DIVERTED FROM THE LANDFILL
F.L.O.S.S.:Strategy for cateringThe event organisers worked with FOCUSthe chefs and catering managementto create menus aligned with theconcept of “F.L.O.S.S.”: Fresh, local,organic, seasonal and sustainable.Over 60% of all products weresourced locally (from a region ONno farther than 250 km from thevenue),30% of which was organic. FLOSSTo raise delegate awareness oflocally grown products, dishes on the Fresh,buffet were labelled with informationindicating their origins. Thesesustainable initiatives represented no local,additional cost to the organizer. organic, seasonal, sustainable. Over 60% of all products sourced locally 30% was organic Food had an origin and personally No additional cost 13
KEY LEARNINGS Engage DelegatesAttention Engaging Over 466 posters were printed by delegates and were positionedto detail Sponsors throughout the congress centre. The majority of these postersDuring the introductory plenary Care should be taken to were printed on normal paperspeech, organisers explained discourage sponsors who seek using chemical inks. In the future,their commitment to creating a to include their material in the EEF could provide sustainablesustainable event. Following this, printing recommendations to congress bags or display theirdelegates were presented with the marketing collateral. Often poster contributors, to guidefirst coffee break. Catering staff hadnot been informed that plastic water this material is of little use to them to print responsibly.bottles should be eliminated. The delegate, is not printed on Train andsituation was immediately rectified recycled paper and is simplyby their replacement with water jugs thrown away by participants. Communicateand glass water bottles This system offers little value to delegates or sponsors. New technological innovations, such as smartphone apps, often With a waste diversion rate of improve the delegate experience, 83% the EEF congress was a reduce environmental impacts good example of the results and delever better sponsorship possible from a well organised ROI. waste management plan. However, in the pre-event phase of the EEF event, the catering teams had not been sufficientlyProactive trained and waste separation was imperfect. Care should be takenSourcing to properly train teams in the weeks before an event. Training increases performance in theThe congress bags selected were busy hours of the event. In aBynot made from sustainable materials.Earlier focus on sourcing could have Additionally, the venue couldenabled a better choice of bags at a increase performance by workingparity price point. Alternatively, the with the city authorities toprovision of congress bags could implement recycling of organichave been eliminated. material.
ENGAGINGSTAKEHOLDERSCOMPENSATING EMISSIONSTo raise awareness and encourage greaterengagement in sustainable practices, the organiserscommunicated the sustainability initiatives viaweb, newsletter, onsite posters and the program.Additionally Guy Bigwood, Past-President of theGreen Meeting Industry Council, was invited byEEF to present the sustainability initiatives and thecommunity project during the opening plenarypresentation. Guy encouraged delegates to supportthe event greening, offset their emissions and tohelp EEF to choose an event community project.Delegates were asked to deposit a red card fromtheir congress pack into a voting box and thusexpress their preference for one of four communityinitiatives. The project with the most votes was theMadre de Dios initiative, which serves to protect vastareas of the Peruvian Amazon from illegal logging.The project has been validated according to theClimate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance, whichguaranteed that the project delivered measurablecarbon sequestration together with social and Certificado Nº. 1545 30 de Noviembre de 2011environmental value to the local community. Theproject was awarded the maximum status of “gold”within the CCB Standard and is managed to ForestStewardship Council (FSC) standards. 12th European Ecological Federation CongressPost event 100% of the event carbon emissions or ha compensado la emisión de 480,000 toneladas de CO2480 metric tonnes of carbon credits were invested La compensación se ha realizado a través del proyectointo the project via the ECODES Non-governmental Conservación de la Amazonía en Madre de Dios en Perúorganisation. Delegate donations accounted for 55%of the offsetting investment with EEF covering theremaining 45%. 15
RECOMMENDATIONSFOR IMPROVED The following recommendations are provided to help the next EEF congress, currentlyPERFORMANCE scheduled to be held at the Excel - exhibition and conference centre in London.1. 5. Consider using the Include a requirement for ISO20121 Sustainable Event measurement in supplier Management System in the contracts. It is difficult to get planning of the congress. environmental data from External certification will suppliers after an event. Make increase performance. this a condition of the contract.2. Start early: Discussing sustainability from the first conversations with suppliers 6. Include a community service event and partners will increase results.3. Include sustainability expectations when sourcing and contracting with suppliers 7. Include a “sustainability donation” in the registration fee. An ‘opt in’ donation is such as the PCO, Venue, less effective than an ‘opt Exhibition and Catering out’ option when offering companies delegates a chance to donate.4. Create a virtual sustainability team consisting of key suppliers to the organisation of 8. Educate exhibitors about sustainable practices and recognise good performance future events with the introduction of a ‘Sustainable Stand’ award. Pay particular attention to the number of posters.
PERFORMANCEINDICATORSThis report was developed using the Global Reporting Initiatives G3.1 Framework. As a summary report it does notfully comply with the pre-determined GRI reporting levels, however the Guidelines improve the reporting processes,increase data integrity and enhance transparency. For more information on the GRI Event Organisers SectorSupplement visit: http://www.globalreporting.org/ReportingFramework/SectorSupplements/Events/EC6 EN16 EN28Policy, practices, and proportion Total direct and indirect Monetary value of significant finesof spending on locally-based greenhouse gas emissions by and total number of non-monetary 2suppliers at significant locations of weight in tons of CO sanctions for non-complianceoperation. Page 6. with environmental laws and · Train: 2,71 regulations. · Car: 16,50 No fines incurred · Flights: 382,36 · Venue: 7,50EN7 · Hotel: 60 EO9Initiatives to reduce indirect · Paper: 0,63 Type and sustainabilityenergy consumption and · Food: 10,61 performance of sourcingreductions achieved.Page 11. TOTAL: 480,41 initiatives. Page 6.EN8 Carbon Emissions per Participant- 2 tons CO : 0,49 Page 10.Total water withdrawal by source, EO11conservation and improvement Number, type and impact ofinitiatives and results. EN22 sustainability initiatives designed90,8 m3. Total weight of waste by type and to raise awareness and impact disposal method, and including behavior change. initiatives to manage waste and their Page 15. results in kg.EN18 · Paper Recycled: 338Initiatives to reduce greenhouse · Glass Recycled: 35 EO12gas emissions and reductions Nature and extent of knowledge · Metal and Plastic Recycled: 570achieved. transfer of best practice and · Organic-Landfill: 190Page 10. lessons learned. TOTAL: 1133 Page 14 and 16 . Page 11.
CREDITS ANDACKNOWLEDGEMENTSAuthors ContributorsThis report was prepared by Guy Thes sustainability efforts presented in thisBigwood and Michael Luehrs of MCI report would not have been possible withoutSustainability Services MCI is proud to the valuable input, contribution and supportbe seen as industry thought leaders in of Pilar Ramos and Andrea Gonzalez fromsustainable event management and MCI, Fernando Valladares and Leyre Jiménez-consulting. MCI is actively engaged Eguizábal from the organising committee atin efforts to change the way the world EEF and the commited team at the Lienzomeets through the promotion of Norte Congress Centre including Felipe Garcia,smart, sustainable business solutions. Gonzalo Súnico and the amazing head of catering – Benjamin.MCI is the selected ProfessionalCongress Organizer andSustainability Guide for some of theworld’s leading events on sustainable Contactdevelopment and the renewable In the interest of constant improvement, allenergy sectors, including: The United ideas and comments about this report areNations Climate Change Conference welcome. Please address comments to Guy(COP15), The World Business Summit Bigwood, MCI Group Sustainability Director -on Climate Change, the International Guy.email@example.comClimate Change Conference, the GRIGlobal Conference on Sustainabilityand Transparency, and the UnitedNations Global Compact Leaders Photo CreditsSummit. Photos were provided by Guy Bigwood (MCI), Graphical Design MCI Creative Services Barcelona www.mci-group.com 19