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Our aging delegate demographic is not as technology savvy as we would like and so we still hard copy our programme (miniature to fit the name tags) and this year we gave all presenters and sponsors an Oxfam certificate sponsoring an earthquake-ravaged village in Papau New Guinea to supply stored and running water, toilets and showers. Delegate bags are recyclable and our carbon footprint was reduced by holding our conference in Auckland (less travel).
We are using an app too for our conference and this will be the last year we have a printed programme. We have brown paper bags for the delegate bag and still this year have sponsors brochures. I think our sponsors would not feel they were getting exposure by having an online brochure. Tricky one that, as we all know it goes in the bin but really who would even look at it online.
Yes we will collect and reuse any lanyards we can.
We are not giving speaker gifts we are donating to a charity.
Last year we trialled using an app only but got quite a lot of push-back from delegates who found that they wanted to be able to easily see the full programme at a glance, not just one stream or session - our programme is extensive - we offer 4 concurrent sessions over 3 days with ~240 speakers and over 400 attendees! So this year - all bios, abstracts and sponsor info was on the app but the final programme (outline only) was also in hard copy. This was very well received.
Our delegate bags are jute and cotton and are in the supermarket style - they are very popular and we had a wait list for any left-over bags. Lanyards and pouches are recycled. We ask for left over food to be donated but this is not always possible within the venue's policy - hopefully more will come on-board with this initiative. We ask for separate recycling bins in the venue. Catering is moving more to individual serves in bamboo trays or cardboard boxes with bamboo 'cutlery' if required. We also try for "walkability" between venues and accommodation.
The New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology Inc
At this years NZIQS Conference we made a big shift towards being more sustainable. We did not offer printed programmes but instead encouraged members to download our conference app. We also had large printed posters with the programme in the exhibition area.
We removed sponsor and exhibitor delegate inserts as research has shown up to 80% of the brochures and branded products are left at event venues or in hotel rooms. Instead sponsors and exhibitors were able to upload brochures and product data sheets to their profile on the app.
We collected lanyards back at the end of the event to reuse them next year.
We also teamed up with our venue to donate any left over food to KiwiHarvest who distribute it to people in need.
We were fortunate to have all venues and hotels within easy walking distance of each other so we did not use any buses. Feedback from delegates was that they enjoyed the walkability.
With the delegates we asked them to consider sustainability by turning off lighting and headpumps in their hotel rooms when they were not there.
Alana Cuthbert - Events Manager, NZIQS
We have moved, mostly, to having materials online. Delegates do seem to like this. We leave delegate bags for sponsors and goodies that absolutely need to be in hard copy. It means that the venue must provide high speed internet.
There are some events we run where people still want a folder of printed materials, but these are getting less.
We also give presenters the gift of a planted tree from Trees That Count. They get a certificate. Everyone loves this and it is our way of helping sustainability.
Deborah Hart, Executive Director, Arbitrators' and Mediators' Institute of NZ
I'd love to to hear what other associations are doing to making events more sustainable e.g. are delegate satchels relevant anymore? Or should we send info, offers, inserts etc to events apps for delegates so they can’t lose them plus reduce the waste and the carbon footprint of the event (and the workload)?