Sustainability emphasized at ECSS Malmö 2015 – MR 17.11.2015
As the congress theme for the 20th annual congress of ECSS indicates, sustainability was under special focus at ECSS Malmö 2015. The theme did not only impact the congress organization and planning but it was also highlighted in the scientific programme of the congress. The City of Malmö provided a perfect setting for the 20th edition of the ECSS congress, being considered as one of the most sustainable cities in the world.
Destination and the venue
When choosing the city of Malmö as a congress destination, sustainability was a nice addition to create a unique ECSS event. The city is compact and easily accessible. Bikes are a must have to get around in the city. Malmö has also received plenty of international awards for the focus on sustainability in the urban environment. Especially sustainable food industry and renewable energy are important in Malmö.
The brand new venue, Hotel and Congress Malmö Live, right at the city centre, has been build up to support the sustainable values of the region. With state-of-art architecture and integrated energy, water and waste management systems, the building provides a great sustainable environment to its users.
Food and beverage
The lunches for the delegates were prepared in house and as the delegates were to pre-order them online the food waste was minimized. In addition, the delegates were distributed a drinking bottle, which they were able to fill in with tasty Swedish tap water. Overall the lunch was prepared with sustainable ideology using degradable boxes, with eco-certificated cooking and using seasonal organic ingredients.
It was convenient to promote ECSS Malmö 2015 as a sustainable event since the congress theme was built around it. Malmö being a forerunner in sustainable solutions in urban environment made it natural to emphasize diverse sustainable solutions and options for the congress delegates.
Delegates were also encourages to use public transportation and bikes rather than car rental and taxies. In addition, the congress badges were printed on demand onsite.
Sustainability was not only considered in the congress organizational perspective but the theme was also integrated in the social programme as well as in the scientific programme. Delegates had the possibility to join physical activities organized around the congress venue and they were able to get the first-hand view on sustainability and sport in several scientific sessions. Such as a plenary session, From Cradle to the Grave – Sport and Physical Activity for a Sustainable Body.
In addition, at ECSS congresses E-poster sessions provide a more sustainable approach to poster format presentations.
Measurement of sustainability
The measurement tool that was used to evaluate the level of sustainability at ECSS Malmö 2015 was the MeetGreen® Calculator. It has nine categories: destination, accommodation, meeting venue, transportation, food and beverage, exposition, communication and marketing, onsite office, AV and offsets. These categories are all compared to the 150 best practice criteria to get the overall sustainability score for the event. The areas of meeting venue, transportation and communication and marketing showed the best performance achievements. The total sustainability score was good, 61,42. However there is still some room for improvement.
Takeaways and recommendations
In the exhibition the use of local suppliers for construction and materials should be increased. Also the suppliers’ sustainability policy should be critically assessed. In addition, the CO2 offset should be decreased. Moreover, storytelling about the venue and the food and beverage should be improved to increase the delegate experience.
The sustainability strategies should be implemented on every stage of the event organization. In the future, it is important that the sustainability strategies and policies are clearly communicated towards all stakeholders and the delegates. It would be useful to develop checklists to monitor the consideration and implementation of the sustainable and recycle ideology. Sustainability as a theme should be added to the association reports and this should be communicated towards the membership. It is also important for ECSS to set event based goals and objectives for sustainability to reassure the integration of the sustainable methods in the long run.
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