Sustainability isn’t a trend anymore – it’s become expected practice, as evidenced by the Events Industry Council’s recent introduction of six new supplier standards for sustainable events (a major redesign that replaces the previous APEX/ASTM standards). Delegates and organizations have come to expect that events they attend or host will create minimal environmental impact while amplifying the guest experience and giving back to the community.
It may sound like a lofty goal, but conference organizers can have a massive impact on moving the sustainability dial. And there’s a simple reason: events generate a lot of waste. In fact, each attendee produces nearly 1.9KG of waste per day, a large chunk of which goes directly to landfills.
Luckily, it’s easier than ever to minimize event waste in Vancouver – all you need is a little knowledge and a healthy dose of creativity. Here are five ideas to set you on the path of hosting your most sustainable event ever.
Location, location, location
Vancouver is a compact, walkable city whose convention centre is perfectly placed in the downtown core. Aside from a stunning background of ocean and mountains, the venue is within easy walking distance of 13,000 hotel rooms, as well as landmark attractions, restaurants catering to every palate, and miles of ocean-hugging seawall. The plethora of choice for nearby pre- and post-meeting venues means attendees can feasibly forgo driving for the entire duration of the conference. (Here’s an idea that will benefit the environment and delegates’ wellbeing: instead of organizing a post-conference cocktail reception, why not schedule a morning yoga class at the convention centre instead?)
It’s all about the apps, baby
Conference guides are so 2018! Instead of generating a ton of paper that will – let’s face it – end up in the garbage, consider creating an event app instead. Apps are fairly easy to design – in fact, there are many you can build for free – and boast benefits like providing real-time updates for attendees, tracking social media coverage, and engaging delegates in ongoing dialogue. If you’re ready to jump aboard the app train, Tourism Vancouver’s Meetings team can connect you with a local event planner to help you get started.
Organic and oh-so-delicious
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to organic, locally sourced fare in Vancouver; in fact, restaurants that don’t implement these practices are becoming increasingly rare. Convention venues citywide are happy to whip up regional fare at the organizer’s request, effortlessly axing emissions produced by transporting ingredients. The result? No nasty chemicals polluting the environment, and attendees who can rest easy knowing their decadent meal is clean and wholesome. (Review the city’s multitude options for group dining here.)
LEED certification? Naturally!
Vancouver venues take pains to achieve eco-certification, which helps to support the city’s mandate of becoming the world’s greenest by 2020. Vancouver is home to an astounding 49 Green Key-certified hotels; seven hotels carry the Green Key Meetings designation. The Vancouver Convention Centre reigns supreme as the world’s first double LEED Platinum-certified convention centre with a six-acre living roof – the biggest in Canada – home to 400,000 indigenous plants and grasses, as well as four beehives; an innovative seawater heating and cooling system; design details incorporating local B.C. wood from sustainably-managed forests; and a restored marine habitat built into the foundation of the West building.
Leave the community better than it was when you arrived
Sustainability isn’t just about greening the earth – it also encompasses corporate social responsibility (CSR). Carving out time during your conference to address social and global challenges not only benefits the community hosting your event, but also strengthens the host organization’s reputation. Whether building outdoor play kitchens at local daycares, helping to harvest vegetables on a nearby farm or restoring degraded habitats in Stanley Park, CSR opportunities abound in Vancouver.
Keen for more green meeting ideas? Contact Tourism Vancouver’s Meetings team to learn how you can execute a memorable, sustainable meeting!