Sustainability and Social Engagement
Conferences generally have a considerable environmental impact. Environmental certification of meetings is encouraged by the city and helps the development of sustainability efforts.
The European Conference on Optical Communication, ECOC 2017, attracted around 5,900 delegates from all over the world to Gothenburg. To reduce the environmental impact, the conference organisers certified the conference, according to the Swedish Environmental Base (Svensk Miljöbas) criteria. But, the organisation went beyond the certification in its sustainability efforts.
Examples of activities:
- Launch of sustainability efforts for the ECOC series.
- Eco-certification according to the Swedish Environmental Base (Svensk Miljöbas). More than 50 actions.
- Instead of speaker gifts, the organiser donated 340 solar-powered lamps through Barnfonden (the Swedish ChildFund) to families in remote areas of India.
- The organiser invested in a 30-hectare large rainforest project, known as the ECOC Forest, in Ecuador.
- Fewer meals contained meat, and vegetarian lunch was standard. The fish was MSC labelled, coffee and tea organically sourced, and Fairtrade labelled.
- The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre, a forefront runner in venue sustainability, hosted the conference. Its city centre location made it possible to avoid the environmental effects of transp
ECOC left a remaining footprint of increased sustainability efforts. Both in Gothenburg and for future conferences around Europe.
- The organisation’s requirements made the suppliers begin their own environmental/sustainability work.
- Sponsors accepted using only environmentally certified material.
- ”Green Platinum” launched at the conference as a highest level sponsor category.
- The ECOC-forest initiative saved 42,000 trees of 132 different species. And will be extended by future conferences.
- Children in India can now, thanks to the lamps, read, do homework and other activities after sunset.
- The conference’s international steering group committee recommends all future ECOC organisers to continue the sustainability work, adapted to local circumstances and the ECOC handbook now includes a section on sustainability.
- Environmental certification of a major international conference – the largest to date to be environmentally certified in Sweden – encourages others to do the same.