A sustainable congress, with everyone’s effort

by José María Menéndez

Any human activity has an environmental impact. To write this post it is necessary to consume electricity (lighting, power consumption of computer equipment). To go to work it is necessary to consume energy. And in a work meeting, attendees move, consume energy and generate waste (papers, water, glasses, etc).

In an event of the relevance of a World Congress, with more than 1,000 attendees from more than 70 countries, the environmental impact due to the organization work, the mobility of the attendees, the catering during the 3 days of the congress, the use of the congress venue and the documentation to be provided to the attendees can be considerable, so it is required to take certain measures, both by the organizing entities and by those attending the Congress. And if the World Congress is about sustainable waste management, these efforts must be exemplars.

This is the case of the 29th ISWA World Congress 2019, which Ategrus has organized at the Euskalduna Palace in Bilbao. Here, the measures adopted to minimize the environmental impact of the congress meet the standards for sustainable events defined by ISWA itself.

These requirements are based on a series of essential principles:

  • Prevention in waste generation
  • Reuse and recycling of any generated waste
  • Compensation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

Ategrus, through its Organizing Committee, has put all its efforts in fulfilling all requirements within reach of the organizing entity in order to reduce the environmental impact in the different stages of the event cycle, in the areas of mobility, energy, water, purchasing, infrastructure and waste, such as:

  • Offering electronic registration and promote the event via web and digital channels
  • Using recycled paper and print on both sides
  • Requesting exhibitors and subcontractors to reduce waste and packaging
  • Prioritizing hotels and a Congress venue with environmental certifications
  • Congress venue accessible by public transport in less than 60 minutes from the airport. A congress program showing how to arrive and depart by public transport.
  • Informing attendees about the possibility of offsetting their carbon footprint
  • Emphasis on reducing food waste, through a careful planning
  • Using reusable utensils and cups
  • Offering water and soft drinks in reusable containers
  • Recommending and using hotels located at a distance that can be explored on foot
  • Selective collection and individual treatment of paper, plastics, organics and non recyclable waste at the congress venue
  • Minimizing the use of gifts, gift bags and wallets
  • Reusing plastic bags for attendees identification, which will be collected at the end of the congress
  • Offering all relevant information, presentations, etc. through digital channels (Congress app, Congress website, etc.)

Now we just need that the more than 1,000 people who have already confirmed our assistance to the Euskalduna Palace behave in an exemplary manner, with the level of environmental awareness that we all are supposed to have, and add our efforts to those from the organization, thus ensuring the environmental sustainability of the event.

There is only one week left to celebrate the Congress. See you in Bilbao from October 7th to 9th!


E-mail: secretariat@iswa2019.org
Telephone: +(00)34 94 662 01 78

Las Mercedes, 8-1ºA
Getxo – 48930
Bizkaia (Spain)