Association Insights


Make a shift with your next conference by implementing sustainability and going green

Aug 16 2016

By: Katerina Selezen

As the modern world searches for ways to reduce emissions and replenish resources, sustainability has become a leading factor in our day-to-day practices. Organizations are developing innovative technologies and procedures to fulfill their roles as stewards of green living. With so many tools at our fingertips, environmental awareness should be a priority in our personal and professional endeavours, and associations are taking a stand in the crusade to protect our environment. What better place to make a difference than at your next conference, with the help of your delegates, partners and associates?

Implementing sustainability into your business plan is a little less tedious than reaching for the stars, despite what you may believe. A conference that adheres to environmentally conscious practices in no way hinders your organization’s agenda or budget. Whether it’s making your next event zero waste, sourcing local food for the menu or donating to an organization, you can reduce your carbon footprint and mitigate the negative environmental and social impacts. Every meeting can be sustainable, so why not hold a successful event and be green at the same time?

Trevor Lui, Director of Operations and Sustainability for The International Centre, explains how a little really does go a long way. “Pick three things to be sustainable with, implement them at your next meeting and show your attendees that your organization can go green,” he says. “Then keep moving forward at the next events. Even if it’s just 10 per cent of food catered to be locally grown – now you’ve made a 10 per cent change rather than no change at all.”

In case you still need a list of reasons why your next conference should be a sustainable one, we’ve got you covered.

Promote environmental awareness and get green advocates involved

When your organization hosts a sustainable event, you are spreading the word not only to your attendees, but also to employees, partners, colleagues, vendors, exhibitors and anyone involved. The results inspire others to explore pertinent improvements in their organizations and personal lives. The benefit of holding a socially responsible conference is twofold – you encourage greener practices and raise the profile of your event, thus attracting participants and clients.

Your association reaps the profits of going green

Sustainability is all about saving, preserving and making conscious use of available resources. Ultimately, any conservation and reduction effort, no matter how small, urges your association to re-evaluate practices and drives significant change, thus reducing overall costs. Furthermore, hosting green events creates valuable market opportunities by opening new doors to environmentally conscious clients.  

A sustainable event is your organization’s green footprint

As greenhouse gas emissions engulf modern human activity and natural resources are being depleted, raising awareness is at the forefront of all global agendas. Each green conference encourages sustainable behaviour and responsible choices. Even simple practices – like reducing, reusing, recycling – can decrease the environmental impact of your event.   

The International Centre – boasting a rooftop garden that harvests fresh herbs and vegetables; LED lighting throughout, saving 290,000 kWh’s of energy; and Canada’s largest bullfrogpowered kitchen – is the obvious place to start your new chapter and make a shift. With the Centre’s comprehensive Sustainable Event Guide and dedicated full-time and volunteer staff, you are already two steps into a more sustainable future.

Anthony Watanabe, President and CEO of Innovolve Group and creator of the annual Canadian Water Summit, is a frontrunner in sustainability and innovation. “The International Centre has become a leader in sustainable event venues,” he notes. “Its commitment to sustainability is well known and respected amongst discerning customers in Canada. Their CSR foundation resonates with our principles and has played an important role in success of our Canadian Water Summit.” 

Join in The International Centre’s mission to reduce waste to landfill by 10 per cent by 2018. Check out the Centre’s complete Sustainable Event Guide on how to make your next conference a green one, by visiting