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To set an example for the world’s convention and event industry, the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development held Asia’s first zero-waste, zero emissions business event in Singapore in November. The conference, which was hosted by the United Nations Development Program and Global Initiatives, brought more than 600 business and government leaders from around the globe together in Singapore to discuss the impact the exhibition and event industry has on worldwide emissions and explore ways to neutralize its contribution. Acknowledging that the goal of zero waste to landfill and zero emissions for the conference was ambitious, organizers noted the highly resource-intensive nature of large conferences and said it intended to lead by example.
“As we engage the business community here at RBF to break new ground on their existing sustainability commitments,” said RBF CEO Tony Gourlay, “we need to walk thee talk ourselves in running the event. We also want to get everyone thinking about how much each single plastic cup, plane ride, and conference badge actually impacts the earth.”
To achieve its zero-waste goal, the event featured no printed programs or business cards, badges made from recycled and recyclable banana fiber, an entirely vegetarian menu, no printed tickets, no printed banners or logos, and reduced consumption of air conditioning. What could not be recycled at the event was offset by through a partnership with the South Pole Group, a global provider of sustainability services. RBF also sought to offset 320 tons of carbon dioxide from transportation with 130 kilograms of carbon dioxide saved through reduced energy use at the event venue. In total, the group reduced the function’s energy consumption to less than 20 kilograms per delegate.