Greening your conference: Sustainability in conferencing

Sustainability is a growing world consciousness to increase social inclusiveness, motivate cleaner industry and reduce carbon emissions. It is a groundbreaking meeting of minds acknowledging the benefits of a shared platform of best practice that promotes healthier communities and more productive environments.
“Going green” is more than a matter of improving resource efficiency and reducing negative environmental impact when planning and organising an event. Greening provides a visible demonstration of your organisation’s commitment to sustainability and should leave a lasting legacy for the local community. It creates the unique combination of increased profits, improved brand value and good conscience!

Book your seat for this seminar at Sustainability Week.
Book your seat for this seminar at Sustainability Week.

Planet, People and Prosperity – striking a balance

  • Corporate Social Responsibility: Greening a conference affords opportunity to add value to local communities through employment, training, local industry support, and raising awareness of sustainability issues. Your venue of choice should also demonstrate community focus by providing a list of organisations it supports. Delegates may consider contributing to the worthy causes listed – or you may wish to donate unused items such as stationery, goodie bags, exhibition materials or unopened food to those that need it.
  • Eco-procurement: To source materials required for your conference in an ecologically and socially responsible way requires research into innovative alternative options to all purchases or service provision. Wherever possible, support local products that are not harmful to the environment – and ensure that all items, such as conference packs, goodie bags or gifts are durable, reusable or recyclable, including signs and name badges.

Recycling – waste can be useful!

  • Waste: There is always potential for a large amount of waste at events like conferences – and recycling will be your most visible greening action. Separating at source is key to extracting the best value out of waste matter. Recycling benefits include: creating more jobs, reducing costs by using recyclable items, a cleaner environment, using leftovers to provide food to charitable institutions such as shelters and soup kitchens, and using organic waste for composting. Minimising landfill waste should be the goal in order to reduce the amount of valuable re-usable materials going to waste.
  • Food & Beverages: By using only local produce, you will be supporting local industries and reducing carbon emission of long-haul transport. Wherever possible, the menu should include the freshest organic and seasonal foods and offer a vegetarian option. Reusable or disposable plates, as well as cloth napkins instead of paper, will make a difference, and very importantly, water should be served in glass jugs rather than plastic bottles.
  • Presentation & Marketing: There are several practical marketing and branding practices to promote greening principles. Ensure that the use of paper materials such as flip charts or hand-outs is as limited as possible, and that all communications are via email. Only print when necessary and when you do, print double-sided. If printed matter is unavoidable, then it should be produced with recycled material only. Marketing and communication of the event should be done electronically as far as possible, and registration for the conference should be via digital means.

Resource efficiency – reduce, rebalance and conserve

  • Energy Consumption: It would be worthwhile to assess your chosen venue with regard to renewable energy and energy saving policies. The installation of solar geysers will be an important check – and wherever possible the use of natural light and ventilation is preferable. Energy efficiency should include: regulation of air-conditioning for the most efficient usage; LED lighting; sensor-driven electrical devices such as escalators and light sensors which switch off lights and equipment when not in use – keep in mind that the higher the energy savings, the greater the cost savings.
  • Emissions & Offsetting: A green venue should have an advanced energy usage measurement system in place that will allow you to proactively monitor the carbon emissions created by your event. You can gain information on the amount of energy consumed – and elect to purchase carbon credits, green energy or support an environmental organisation as a way of offsetting the resultant carbon emissions.
  • Transport: Finding ways to reduce the travelling time between the airport, accommodation and the conference venue plays a vital role in minimising the carbon footprint. Secondly, the venue should be easily accessible via reliable public transport, even possibly including the provision of bicycles. These measures will not only reduce transport emissions to and from the venue but also ensure convenience for delegates.
  • Water Conservation: Water is a scarce and valuable resource, and the venue’s responsible stewardship should include: accurate monitoring of water consumption; water-wise plants and drip irrigation systems; installation of water-saving sensor taps and dual flush systems in restrooms.

The CTICC – when next you’re in Cape Town

Cape Town, home to Table Mountain, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, provides a perfect setting for local, small and large national conferences. The Cape Town International Convention Centre – proud member of the South African Event Greening Forum and the Green Meetings Industry Council – is superbly placed to green your event.

Here’s why:

  • At the CTICC, we are committed to sustainability as a core business ethic. It is not simply a measure of value that we add; it is at the heart of who we are.
  • Nurture Our World (NOW) is a fully-fledged sustainability forum that informs and guides the CTICC’s sustainability efforts, and supports several programmes aimed at enhancing the centre’s positive environmental and social impact.
  • Our passion for sustainability leadership has earned us various accolades. Wereport our sustainable practices in line with Global Reporting Initiative standards.
  • We believe that by achieving these high standards, we inspire industry players, clients and visitors alike, to embark on their own ‘green’ journeys.

For more information, please visit, or contact our dedicated sales team on +27 21 410 5000 or via email

Source: Bizcommunity

The opportunities to address the sustainability imperative arising from the current and numerous challenges facing African cities are tremendous. Exploring these is the main objective of the AFRICAN CAPITAL CITIES SUSTAINABILITY FORUM. Supported by appropriate policies, design ingenuity, innovation, technical proficiency, robust implementation mechanisms and adequate infrastructural investments, African cities can reach high levels of quality of urban life, improving drastically their environmental footprints while reaching highly competitive economic prosperity in the medium to long term. Ensuring that the most rapidly developing cities in the world develop sustainably is arguably the most important objective on the planet. Ending the negative spiral of poverty and dependence will be the reward for bold actions now!
The opportunities to address the sustainability imperative arising from the current and numerous challenges facing African cities are tremendous. Exploring these is the main objective of the AFRICAN CAPITAL CITIES SUSTAINABILITY FORUM. Supported by appropriate policies, design ingenuity, innovation, technical proficiency, robust implementation mechanisms and adequate infrastructural investments, African cities can reach high levels of quality of urban life, improving drastically their environmental footprints while reaching highly competitive economic prosperity in the medium to long term. Ensuring that the most rapidly developing cities in the world develop sustainably is arguably the most important objective on the planet. Ending the negative spiral of poverty and dependence will be the reward for bold actions now!

Follow Alive2Green on Social Media

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

SA Tourism banks on business events

SA Tourism is banking on a jump in the number of international business events and meetings held in the country in the next five years.

Already the organisation’s conventions bureau has secured 177 bids for such events between 2014-2020, which represent 753 conference days involving about 253,128 delegates with an estimated economic impact of R3.5bn.

SA Tourism chief convention bureau officer Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo said in a briefing on the organisation’s strategic plan to Parliament’s trade and industry committee on Friday that SA remained the No 1 convention destination in Africa and the Middle East. It improved its position in the International Congress and Convention Association’s rankings from 37th in 2012 to 34th in 2013 and hoped for gains last year.

She believed there was potential for growth in hosting corporate meetings, corporate incentive programmes, international conventions and trade exhibitions.

There was also scope for SA to increase its share of the global market for meetings of associations. There were 118 meetings of associations in 2013-14, which SA Tourism would like to see rise to 134 by 2020.

Tourism has been identified as a key growth sector with significant job-creation potential. MPs were told that in 2013-14 there were 9.6-million tourist arrivals in the country, and SA Tourism would like to see this rise to 13.7-million by 2020. Domestically it wants to see an increase in holiday trips from 3.1-million to 3.5-million. Chairman Zwelibanzi Mntambo said more needed to be done to encourage domestic tourism and develop a culture of travel in the country.

He also stressed the urgency of the government improving its airlift strategy. “If we are not having airlifts out of the countries where we are marketing to bring people to SA at the time, comfort and price that they want we will not be in this game competitively. It is of no use for us to go and market ourselves in China when we can’t get the tourists out of China.”

South African Airways’ decision to cut its flights to Beijing, China, because the route was not profitable did not help promote tourism to SA, Mr Mntambo said. China and India were growing tourist markets which SA could not afford to neglect, he said.

Source: BDLive


Responsible Tourism Dialogue

Book your seat here.

Join the discussion here.

Follow Alive2Green on Social Media

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

Sustainable events industry: Successes and failures

Event tourism is a growing global phenomenon. All events have impacts on the economy, environment and society – playing an important role in communities. Events add to the quality of life for local residents and driving tourists to an area. Events provide an opportunity to showcase positive community brands and image to the media, business community and visitors and further create economic impact that translates into jobs, tax revenues and enhanced infrastructure improvements. ‘Community Capital’ (as it is referred to by IFEA Africa, International Festivals and Events Association Africa) is built as a direct outcome of events, e.g. through exposure of artists, local community programmes and experiences.

Events include, but is not limited to, business meetings, exhibitions, festivals, entertainment, government interventions and sports events. The event management process of planning, preparing and production creates opportunities for rich localised work integrated learning experience and job creation.

The 2000 National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS1) provided the platform for a visionary skills development initiative. In 2002 the first learnership in Event Support was funded by The Business Trust working with THETA – the Tourism, Hospitality, & Sport Education and Training Authority. A sustainable curriculum was developed to upgrade service levels, build capacity and promote job creation in this field to generate increased economic revenues from events and event tourism. The skills based competencies were linked directly to internationally validated performance outcomes with wider opportunities for employment and career success (Silvers 2000). A group of 200 learners from across the Gauteng province participated in the year long programme that would took us into communities where we were privileged to participate in real community experiences.

The possibilities for events based on local assets created wonderful opportunities, as well, traditional event and event tourism. There is often criticism on the ‘waste of money on events’ – and our response is – which part of the event value chain? The agro-ecology – from the Urban Farm in Bertrams, in the Inner City of Johannesburg to the large scale farmers, from the local community markets to the 2010 FIFA World Cup – the growers, the pickers, the transport, the small and large food and beverage suppliers for events, the venues, the decorators, the event organisers, the event security, the event marketing, the recyclers…where is the waste?

The South African events industry has the potential to create 876,785 jobs by simply planning, preparing and producing small events, based on local assets in local communities. There are 4,277 wards in South Africa. In each of these wards, a group of 205 youth – entry level and graduates could embark on a skills development journey, mentored, coached and support by local businesses and event industry experts.

Our challenge would be to create and sustain a physical and virtual place- making portfolio of harmonized places, flowing one from another, yielding cross-demand through the portfolio, generating new forms of revenue, driving sales of authentic commodities, goods services and experiences (Pine & Gilmore, 2007) that could maximise the multiplier effect and contribute towards poverty eradication.

Policies like the amended BBBEE Act, the National Minimum Standard for Responsible Tourism, government commitment to procurement on 10 products from SME’s and Co-operatives, including Events all are in place to support enterprise development in the event value chain. However, the challenge remains this: With the best will in the world, you can’t buy local and support small enterprises and co-operatives unless the competencies, capabilities and capacity to deliver are developed and quality standards maintained.

This requires a commitment to sustainable skills development initiatives supported by industry and government. A number of event industry initiatives are under way with associations working with government departments on transformation, tourism, sustainability, health and safety and the professionalization of the event industry, including the formation of the Council of Event Professionals currently in process at South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

The journey, over the last fourteen years has included over 1,000 learnerships in urban, ‘rurban’ and rural South Africa, with events touching the lives of many new entrants into the event industry.

Evidence indicates that significant community development takes place only when local community people are committed to investing themselves and their resources in the effort. Each community boasts a unique combination of assets upon which to build its future”. (McKnight & Kretzmann, 1993)

It is these natural and built assets – commodities extracted from the earth, goods made, services delivered – that come together in the planning, preparation and production of small, low profile events. Local communities create an “Experience Economy in which Work is Theatre and Every Business is a Stage” (Pine & Gillmore, 1999).

One of the greatest benefits of events is social inclusion – and how the industry could turn eventing know-how into a collective vehicle for sustainable social and economic development solutions. This led to the start of Skills Village 2030 as a space where government, business and community could work together using events as the catalyst for change.

Skills Village is a bridge builder between the traditional and new realities – the industry having pioneered and protected the South African event knowledge systems and solutions – understanding the diversity and complexity of the South African, and Africa client’s needs. This created an understanding of how cultural products could be developed by training and empowering practitioners for the benefit of our society. The Skills Village pilot has proved that a realistic business and community space can be created and provided the best opportunity for enterprise, the development of human capital and nation building. Events through this process can grow a dynamic cross-sector that can strategically enhance the economic benefits of the industry, advancing extended industries exponentially through a co-operative linkage system.

The Skills Village model and framework are scalable and replicable – there are many individuals who have participated in in the one year training programmes who are successfully employed, or in their own enterprises able to sustain decent livelihoods. The visionary National Skills Development Strategy lll recognises the critical need for all stakeholders to work together: Academic Institutions, FET Colleges, the proposed Community Colleges, the Workplace Integrated Learning Experiences and Industry Certifications. The biggest challenge has been the lack of support for progression – if we really want to successfully unlock the potential of event tourism that benefits local communities, we need a four year plan, supported by Skills Development, that will take individuals through the different skill levels – Support, Co- ordinate, Manage, Direct. This should apply to the event organiser, the destination manager, the cleaner or the caterer, hiring décor or hiring transport, the Concierge in a five star hotel or the Community Concierge. The collective event industry can turn its eventing expertise into catalytic value for clients, for partners, for communities – delivering the best experiences, getting the job done right and making a different to the event practitioner’s lives that it empowers in the process.

Source: The Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Handbook Volume 2



Responsible Tourism Dialogue

Book your seat here.

Join the discussion here.

 Follow Alive2Green on Social Media

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Google +