CPD events face significant challenges with sustainability whilst still ensuring the provision of a stimulating and innovative learning environment. We believe as one of the largest veterinary events in Europe we have the responsibility to be leading the change.
Congress has been working on several projects in the last year, some implemented at Congress 2017 and some for 2018. In 2017 these new initiatives were put in place to support the communities in which we have an impact, while always looking at where we can reduce waste. These include:
Re-distributing waste lunch bags to Birmingham Homeless charities
Donating surplus stationery through Burtons to underfunded schools
•Surplus coffee cups donated to a Gloucestershire soup kitchen
• Congress Royal Canin bags to STEM university outreach and other charities
One of the biggest challenges we face is the production of single use plastic, enabling delegates to have the best experience, while at the same time reducing the impact that we have on the environment. In 2017, we provided nearly 14,000 bottles of water. Congress 2018 will see each delegate receiving reusable water bottle with filling stations across the venues. These bottles are being made in the UK.
Registrations will be posted shortly, and delegates will notice that all our envelopes and packaging has been changed to non-laminated materials and thus are fully recyclable. We are also reducing the number of printed programmes and upgrading the app to be more user friendly. We will also make the proceedings available online two weeks before the event.
Technology is advancing, and many exhibitors can send over information via email instead of printing and handing out hard copies. We would encourage delegates to allow them to do this where possible to avoid paper waste.
Our partners at the NEC Group (including the ICC and Arena Birmingham venues) are key in supporting our environmental impact and most of this activity goes on behind the scenes for efficiency. Their initiatives include:
• Paper / Cardboard and glass are all recycled by Kappa
• Food waste not suitable for redistribution is collected and sent to an anaerobic digestion plant
• Glass is collected in a glass skip and this is collected for recycling and using as aggregate
• All other waste is collected and taken to the Tyseley Waste Plant where materials are separated and anything that can’t be recycled is used for waste to energy. Therefore, there are no separate recycling bins (except for paper).
• Car Parks – all lighting has now been swapped to LED fittings
• Water – all urinals in the venue are now operating the URECO cartridge sleeve which saves approx. 315,000 litres of water each urinal per year.
• Energy is via a CHP plant run and maintained by Engie
Let us know your ideas
We hope that this demonstrates the commitment and the effort that Congress puts into reducing our impact at every instance, however there will always be areas that need improvement and those that can’t be changed immediately. If you have any suggestions or queries then please get in touch.