Placing sustainability at the core of EGEA conference
Sustainability will be an essential feature of EGEA conference: whether in the presentations, the discussions or in the organisation itself. Indeed, EGEA steering committee has aimed at including this dimension as much as possible in the practical aspects of the conference, while guaranteeing the experience of the participants. Here are some explanations on how sustainability has guided the organisation of EGEA conference.
From the very beginning of the planning of the event, sustainability criteria were included in the specifications as broadly as possible. Specific requirements were thus stated for catering, travel, inclusiveness among speakers and participants, and sobriety in the use of resources.
WORKING WITH COMMITED COMPANIES
Aprifel selected a professional conference organiser certified ISO 20121“Event sustainability management systems”, to help organise the conference. The conference venue chosen to host EGEA has a policy regarding sustainability (rated Gold in the Accor Group’s sustainability charter).
For the other actors of the conference – restaurants, printer etc.- specific charters have been drawn up to set out the requirements about:
- Catering to ensure the nutritional quality and the proportion of plant-based and minimally processed products, the careful management of the quantities served and the use of reusable and plastic-free crockery.
- Material aspects of the event: Reusable equipment (table, chairs, set design) has been selected when possible and the communication tools have been limited to the essentials (badge, participant booklet and bag) -and are made with sustainable resources. For example, the paper booklet is made from sustainably managed forests and vegetable-based inks, and the bag material is spun and assembled in France by a company employing disabled workers.
LIMITING TRANSPORTATION NEEDS
Barcelona was chosen to host the conference because of its easy access and as it offers alternatives to flying. The city has an international airport and easy connections by train or car from several European countries. Barcelona also offers an extensive public transportation network to reach the city and navigate the downtown area.
The venue opens the possibility of a walking- first congress. It is served by two metro and bus lines. Conference attendees can be accommodated directly on site, and an extensive range of additional accommodation is available nearby, at all rates.
The choice of venues for the social part of the event was also guided by the desire to encourage soft mobility. The first one is less than a 15-minute walk from the conference venue, the other is about 30-minute walk or less than 15 minutes by metro. Finally, specific information has been sent to participants regarding sustainable transportation and a 48h free pass for Barcelona public transports was offered to all attendees at registration.
A CERTIFICATION PROCESS TO MAKE THIS COMMITMENT CONCRETE
To make these commitments tangible and verifiable, the EGEA steering committee has launched a sustainability labelling process for the conference. To this end, the REEVE label (Eco-event network) has been chosen and the process is underway. Considering the specific aspects of the conference, some thirty commitments covering 8 sustainability topics have been made and will be audited for the obtention of the certification.
After the conference, the event’s carbon footprint (travel and food of the participants) will be estimated and shared. Based on the results, a compensation plan will be put in place.