SB'13 Sustainable Event Practices
SB'13 Sustainable Event Practices
Sustainable Brands© has always been committed to reducing the environmental impact of our own events, to sharing our knowledge, and to making a positive mark on our host communities. The event planning team works closely with all vendors and stakeholders involved to follow a sustainable event framework that was developed in accordance with the leading international event industry standards – ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Management Systems and APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards. Let us share some of our work in this arena with you, and how it all went for SB'13.
The universally accepted diversion rate for 'Zero Waste' is 90%, and for the first time in 4 years, we didn't actually hit that, but we're close.. Out of 14,465 lbs of total 'waste', 84% was diverted from the landfill during SB'13.
100% of the carbon emissions from the event were offset, including attendee and staff travel and accommodation.
The water impact of the event, including attendee accommodation, was neutralized by support of Colorado River water restoration projects.
ISO 20121 Compliance
SB'13 reached a SEMS score of 81%, meaning the event is in compliance with the ISO 20121 standard. These results have been audited by a second party; Three Squares Inc. We will not seek formal ISO certification, as this will require a third audit made by a third party and cost a lot of money we'd rather put to use towards more efforts in our sustainability work.
100% Local Food Sourcing
While reaching exactly 100% proved tough, we landed at around 80% of the food sourced locally. What is more exciting is that we established lasting partnerships between Paradise Point and local farms, and they are now offering local food as an option on their permanent food and beverage menus.
SB'13 was 100% powered by wind energy, including the event preparation, travel, accommodation, and social events.
Leaving a Legacy
Paradise Point has kept the composting program on a permanent basis, has established a Sustainability Team of their own, implemented resource conservation efforts across the property and established partnerships with more local farms for food sourcing.
Using QuickMobile to devlop the SB'13 event mobile app and website, allowed us to make movement towards becoming a paperless event. By creating our mobile app we were able to post venue/exhibition maps, programming updates, attendee feedback surveys, and sponsor advertising and content. With over 1,100 downloads of the app, we saw a 30% decrease in paper consumption even with a 25% increase in attendance.
We had plenty of efforts in place to reach these goals, and would love to share how we did it. Read on for more detailed information, and hopefully to learn how to increase the positive impact of your own event(s). If you have any questions at all or if we can help you in your efforts, don't hesitate to get in touch.
Highlighted SB'13 sustainability efforts include:
Paradise Point Resort & Spa, San Diego
The venue was selected for its high potential for impact reduction and for their management's willingness to collaborate with and learn from SB and our partners in that arena. Since we first visited them, their commitment and ongoing effort to reduce the environmental footprint has been demonstrated by their Destination Earth program, including:
Paradise Point Head Chef and F&B Team
Much effort and focus was put in to the menu selection and sourcing of the food, in collaboration with the Chef and team at Paradise Point to ensure a lower impact from the food served at the conference. We also took advantage of the opportunity to educate the audience about food choices; to show that it is possible to choose lower impact options without sacrificing flavor or nutrition - even on a large scale.
In collaboration with all vendors and exhibitors
The entire planning process is focused on reducing waste as much as possible, and this is where a lot of the decision that affect the final impact is made. There are more efforts in this arena than we even have room to mention, but let us go through some of the main areas where we work hard to reduce waste in the planning process:
In partnership with 1:1 Movement and Waste Management
With great assistance from the locally based 1:1 Movement and Waste Management in San Diego, SB'13 worked closely with the conference venue to implement a comprehensive waste diversion system to separate recyclables, compostables and waste for pre-event and days-of production efforts. What couldn't be reduced in the planning phase, we focused on diverting away from landfill in the execution phase. Here's how we did that:
Energy Conservation and Carbon Measurement
In partnership with Paradise Point, PS Audio Visual and Freeman
The venue and suppliers are aware of energy reduction measures included in the event sustainability framework including:
In partnership with Native Energy, Windmade and Bonneville Environmental Foundation
Where we are not able to reduce our impact any further, we partner with offset organizations to offset or restore the resources spent, by supporting projects that do so elsewhere. Our offset programs include:
ISO 20121 Sustainability Compliance
In partnership with Three Squares, Inc.
In order to earn ISO 20121 compliance, Three Squares Inc. worked closely with the SB'13 team, conference venue, and event suppliers to ensure that materials sourced for the event are held to the highest environmental standard and documentation was gathered for upload to the online certification system. The online Sustainable Event Management System (SEMS) Tool was used to measure event compliance with the standard and audit the event activities on site. The total event score ended at 81%, which is compliant with ISO 20121.
For Health and Wellness
SB'13 featured several activities and efforts outside the main conference program to ensure attendees had an overall healthy experience at the conference. Some of these included:
Event Planning Office
San Francisco, CA
Most of the conference planning happens from our headquarters in San Francisco. Our office follows these practices throughout the year, and for all events we work on:
Many of these efforts and results would not have been possible without the collaboration of our partners. An immense thank you goes out to them for the willingness to work with us, the time, training and efforts, the collaboration and brain-storming to figure out tricky challenges along the way, and yes, even for dumpster-diving when it came down to it! You have our utmost gratitude for your partnerships.