WHY green meetings?
Greening UN meetings is a significant and highly visible contribution to the sustainability goals of the United Nations
According to the UN Green Meeting Guide 2009, any gathering, such as a meeting or conference, has negative environmental implications - arising for example from participants travelling to the meeting; heating and cooling the venue; the materials provided to participants; the catering for their meals and accommodation. They consume natural resources (energy, water), generate waste and cause local air and water pollution, and contribute to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions.
Greening our meeting will reduce the direct environmental impact of it, but should also leave a positive and lasting legacy to the local community.
WHAT is a green meeting?
A green event is one designed, organised and implemented in a way that minimises negative environmental impacts and leaves a positive legacy for the host community.
The opportunities and benefits that can be identified, for the organisers, the participants, the service providers and for the host/local region are: cost savings; positive reputation; environmental innovation; awareness raising; social benefits; influencing decision-making; and spreading the best practice within the organisation.
Greening the PAP/RAC meetings
In order to reduce the environmental impact of a meeting (i.e. energy use, and the resulting energy-use emissions; material consumption and waste generation; water use; and indirect environmental impacts to air, water and soil), PAP/RAC is carrying out the following actions:
- selects, whenever possible, venues and accommodation that implement energy efficiency measures, comply with green building standards and/or use renewable energy sources;
- chooses location and venue minimising local and long distance transportation needs for participants and products;
- where long-distance travel is unavoidable, offsets GHG emissions;
- applies energy-saving office practices during the organisation and hosting of the meeting;
- minimises materials provided to participants and used by service providers (e.g. caterer), before, during and after the meeting;
- avoids the use of disposable items, use pre-used/recycled and reusable/recyclable products and reduce packaging needs to a minimum;
- separates and recycle waste where possible;
- reuses plates and badges, and encourages participants during the closing of the meeting, to return their badge (put it in a "green your badge box") so that it can be reused / recycled;
- minimises the distribution of bottled water to participants where possible;
- minimises the need to transport food and other products and prefers local food.
Communication with participants (registration, materials for the meeting)
In its communication with the meeting participants, PAP/RAC uses electronic means of communication (e.g. e-mail, website); sets up an electronic registration system; prints and photocopies on both sides, and keeps font size to a minimum (whilst ensuring readability), and minimises the use of colour copies; collects paper that has been used on one side only in collector trays, and reuses for printing and notepaper. To minimise paper use, offers IT services to participants for the electronic copying of data, and makes presentations available for download following the meeting.
Recommendations to participants on "green behaviour"
In order to make our meeting as sustainable as possible, here are some practical advices on "green behaviour":
- Only print what you need before travelling;
- Bring your own pen and paper to the meeting;
- Use public transport as much as possible;
- Stay in one of the recommended hotels, which operate in an environmentally responsible manner;
- Turn off any lights, TV, air conditioner or heater when you leave your hotel room for the day;
- If the hotel offers this service, take the energy-saving option of not having sheets and towels changed every day. And make sure it is enforced. If not, talk to the hotel managers;
- Recycle your waste: bottles, cans, paper, etc. where this option exists.
ORGANISATION OF A SUSTAINABLE MEETING IN ZAGREB
Greening the meeting at the ARCOTEL ALLEGRA hotel
Transport to the hotel / local public transport
Hotel location (in the centre of Zagreb) is accessible by public transport (a five-minute walk from the main bus station and the Zagreb airport bus station; a city tram stop is just in front of the hotel's entrance).
Meeting room, energy saving
- Size of the meeting room adapted to real needs, i.e. to the number of participants;
- Day light during the meeting, open windows (in order to reduce energy consumption, we have chosen a room with natural light);
- Rational use of heating/cooling equipment at the conference room;
- Turning off all lighting and electronic equipment when not in use (on site at the event hotel staff diligent in checking that lighting and equipment are turned off when not required);
- Measuring energy consumption during the meeting.
Catering services, water use, waste and recycling
- Meals (breakfast, lunch) served at the hotel restaurant - at the meeting venue (seasonal and local food served, with the possibility of serving a typical traditional meal from Zagreb; possibility of serving macro-vegetarian meals);
- For coffee breaks coffee / tea served in reusable cups and on reusable plates; cookies served for coffee breaks purchased from the local producers;
- Whenever possible the hotel provides opportunities for guests to learn more about the cultures who reside in the community, such as through their choice of local food;
- The PAP/RAC responsible person will inform the caterer in time about the exact number of participants for meals and refreshments;
- Tap water for drinking (water jars at tables during a meeting);
- Recycled paper towels and refillable soap dispensers at the public hotel toilets.
- Towel and sheet re-use;
- Energy-efficient lighting.
A hotel is a non-smoking environment (in the public area such as the bar, the restaurant, the lobby, etc. smoking is forbidden, but the hotel also disposes of smoking areas).
Only climate appropriate plants planted in hotel surrounds.
- Whenever possible the hotel staff provides opportunities for guests (brochures, leaflets, announcements of events) to attend local events to learn more about the local culture;
- Whenever possible the hotel provides opportunities for guests to learn more about the cultures who reside in the community, such as through recommending them local (eco-certified) restaurants (such as "Ivica & Marica", an excellent national restaurant at the old city core of Zagreb and the only eco-certified restaurant in Zagreb with a rich offer of local food, such as "zagorski štrukli", cheese and egg pie).
Domestic / Organic food in Zagreb
There are many restaurants in Zagreb serving domestic food. Zagreb also offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy meals made from organic products or sourced through fair trade channels. There is a number of organic stores in the city centre specialised in organic food offer, such as the Bio&Bio (Ilica 70; Jurišićeva 28).
Ivica & Marica Tkalčićeva 70
Ivica & Marica is the only restaurant in Zagreb with eco-certified food. The food prepared at Ivica & Marica is made without the use of trans-fats for deep-fat frying, without artificial spice enhancers and without preservatives. The food is prepared with whole-wheat flour 4 times richer in vitamins and minerals, organic vegetables, olive oil, game and other carefully selected groceries.
NOVA Restaurant, Ilica 72
Although 1991 was not an ideal time to open a restaurant in Croatia, since it was struck by the war at the time, Jadranka Boban Pejić and Zlatko Pejić, founders and creators of the Society for Improvement of Quality of Life and the Makronova Institution, opened doors of a club restaurant on the first floor in Ilica 72. At the time, an idea of offering balanced and healthy meals was really brave since similar specialties could only be eaten in cosmopolitan centres like New York, Paris, London.
Offsetting gas emissions
A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or green house gases made in order to compensate for or to offset an emission made elsewhere. In order to offset greenhouse gas emissions from air travel, automobiles, etc., we have decided to plant trees. Newly planted trees will remove carbon from the atmosphere while they are growing and in this way mitigate climate change.
Assessment of PAP/RAC efforts in making the meeting green
As part of PAP/RAC ongoing efforts to monitor and improve the environmental performance of meetings, workshops and events, we would be grateful to all of you, the participants of the meeting, for your feedback on PAP/RAC efforts to make the meeting sustainable.
Please take some time to complete the three questions below and submit it.