STRATEGY FOR A CARBON-NEUTRAL CONVENTA

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#GREENCONVENTA FOR A MORE SUSTAINABLE MEETINGS INDUSTRY

1. STARTING POINT OF #greenconventa 

According to official data by the MeetGreen Association, an average event attendee creates 176,67 kilograms of carbon footprint per day. For instance, an international event attended by 1,000 participants, lasting three days, amounts to 530 tonnes of carbon footprint, equivalent to 1,233 oil barrels. Transport is to blame for more than 70 per cent of the carbon footprint, as reported by the Association. You can read more at the following link: https://meetgreen.com/

We are well aware of these facts when organising the Conventa tradeshow. Since its inception, Conventa has strived to change the behaviour of all regional event organisers. That is why, in 2009, when environmental topics were still obscure, we set the foundations of Conventa’s green concept. The concept was named Conventa 4R and was advocated throughout the years regardless of the changes in the market. 

We set a goal to complete activities that will result in a 50 per cent decrease of our event’s emissions by 2030. We wish to become a 70 per cent carbon-neutral event by 2040.

After nearly fifteen years, environmental conditions have worsened to the point when there can be no excuses. Changes have become so swift that a radical turnover is needed. A change is, not least of all, needed because of the younger generations, who are much more aware of climate change. Decarbonisation must become the focal topic of event organisers, whilst organising events should become interchangeable. We are, above all, concerned about those event organisers who are indifferent towards the environment regardless of the main message the corona crisis has sent. Such carelessness was on display when Europe’s meetings industry lifted restrictions and restarted. Moreover, there have been cases of green scams. Needless to say, the public was quick to form its opinion. 

Undoubtedly, it is crucial to understand the omnipresent socio-economic impacts of events that can, on their own, neutralise negative environmental effects. To illustrate, we should mention the return of employees in the industry after the corona crisis and the knowledge exchange taking place at events, resulting in new vaccines and the like. That brings us to the simple conclusion that the quality of events is far more valuable than the quantity. New indices that we should consider are the index of happiness, the human development index (HDI), and an array of various ecological indices. 


Conventa 5R Rethink/Reduce/Reuse/Recycle/Refuse 

It all starts with long-term planning. After that, a transition is not that hard. In our case, we based our methodology on the 5R model i.e. Rethink/Reduce/Reuse/Recycle/Refuse.


As organisers of Conventa, we focus on and address several areas to achieve the final goal of reducing our event’s CO2 footprint. 

1. Inclusiveness and partnership: Conventa is only able to achieve set goals together with its partners. The project currently includes 18 partners. Together with them, we define the activities and indicators of success. The project’s network of partners is key to the overall success and sustainable management. 

2. Think globally, act regionally: We focus on the region of New Europe, a positive factor from a sustainable aspect. Above all, we prioritise local expertise, providers and services. In practice, we strive to encourage the local economy, preserve our heritage and perpetually develop our region’s know-how. 

3. 5R: From the preliminary plan to the execution, Conventa takes sustainable decisions, thus contributing to waste reduction. Conventa prioritises products with a high content of recycled materials whilst striving to reuse materials. The concept is explained extensively below. 

All five segments help us promote sustainable concepts and empower the public based on arguments and hard facts. New partnerships are being strengthened and built every year. This year, we have been encouraging electric mobility and the establishment of quick charging stations for electric cars at the event. 


2. WHAT WE CAN MEASURE, WE CAN IMPROVE

In 2020, we implemented a holistic management system of sustainable measures for Conventa. The cornerstone for our further activities was the criteria set within the project “Čista zmaga”, prepared for sports events by Umanotera: www.cistazmaga.si (2013). 

We comprehensively upgraded the criteria whilst strictly following a three-phase scheme of measures: 

  • The first phase includes measures where the organiser’s readiness to cooperate is vital. 
  • The second phase demands a particular financial investment, not only the goodwill of the organiser. 
  • Thirdly, other event stakeholders need to be actively involved alongside the organiser’s financial investment and engagement. 

Summary of sustainable criteria for Conventa in 2021/2022: 

Criteria (altogether 160 criteria)Phase onePhase twoPhase threeTotal points 
Mobility824335
Project management102921
Communication90615
Marketing 112013
Conventa’s venue8121535
Exhibition equipment84012
Ordering56314
Food and drinks28616
Hotel accommodation 84012
Social responsibility74617
Natural environment62311
Energy310922
Waste610016
Water3407
FINAL POINTS:949260246 points

Further details are available at the following link (the matrix is in Slovene): 

As evident from the number of points, the most problematic segments when organising events are: 

1. mobility

2. venues where Conventa takes place

3. energy

4. social responsibility

5. food and drinks

Especially in terms of mobility, event venues and gastronomy, we will only be able to make progress in close cooperation with our partners. 

We sincerely thank Umanotera, the Slovenian Foundation for Sustainable Development, for letting us develop their matrix further. 


3. FROM WORDS TO ACTIONS 

The main goal of the project is to reduce the carbon footprint per participant. Based on international studies, the carbon footprint per participant is valued at 176,67 kilograms of carbon footprint per day. 

Our goals are: 

by 2025                              reduce carbon footprint by 30% per participant per day

by 2030                              reduce carbon footprint by 50% per participant per day

by 2035                              reduce carbon footprint by 60% per participant per day

by 2040                              reduce carbon footprint by 70% per participant per day

Furthermore, our objectives are:

  • Spreading awareness about the necessity of green transformation through Conventa’s platform and thus playing our part in the decarbonisation of the entire industry.
  • To educate and empower all key Conventa stakeholders to act responsibly.
  • To reduce the amount of used plastic by 90 per cent by 2030. 
  • To find optimal solutions for attendees’ sustainable mobility and increase the percentage of participants who arrive at the event by sustainable means to 50% by 2030. 

CONVENTA WILL BE DECARBONISED BY 2035

As organisers, we are firm believers that the positive social impacts of the project will be evened out with the event’s carbon footprint once reduced by 60%. Conventa is bound to become carbon-neutral by 2035 – one of the key strategic goals of Conventa’s sustainable transformation. 


4. CONVENTA’S GREEN TEAM

Green leader: Natalija Bah Čad 

Conventa’s green team comprises: 

Management: Gorazd Čad  

Hosted buyers: Ana Robič Zima 

Exhibitors: Matjaž Mohar 

Communication: Aljaž Čad