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"Sustainable" Meetings

Brussels is one of the most international cities in the world. The 'Capital of Europe' hosts 40,000 EU employees, hundreds of permanent representations including over 300 representations of EU regional and local authorities and around 17,000 lobbyists.

No wonder the city has around 66,000 registered meetings per year!

This figure multiplied by the amount of drinks, food, travel, paper, water and waste per person represents an enormous impact on the environment. On the other hand it also offers an incredible opportunity for Brussels and its multiple offices to be leading examples in the organisation of sustainable meetings & events.

Brussels is classified as Europe's first sustainable city for its environmental policy! Out of 30 European capitals, Brussels ranks 9th, ahead of Paris and London, in the European Green City Index or ranking of sustainable cities. In particular, Brussels comes joint top with Copenhagen when it comes to public environmental policy.
 

Brussels plans to become an even greener place to meet, aiming to be the "Green city of Europe" by 2014 through a coordinated plan to make the city a truly sustainable destination.
 

What are the benefits for organisers of sustainable events?

  • Saving resources & costs
  • Raising your image
  • Raising awareness & multiplying good practices.
  • Supporting local economy
  • Trigger innovation in sustainable technologies
 

HOW TO ORGANISE YOUR SUSTAINABLE EVENT?

Venue selection

Choosing a venue well served by public transport and with suitable infrastructure. If possible, add "environmental" considerations to your usual criteria.

Key points to consider:
  • Ensure that the venue can be easily reachable by walking or public transport
  • Ask if there is space to store bicycles
  • Choose a low-energy building
  • Make sure that the venue has a waste management system
  • Use video-conferencing where possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save time and money (which would otherwise be spent travelling)
 

Hotels

Choosing a hotel based on its environmental and/or social involvement. Your employees, colleagues or participants will notice.

Key points to consider:
  • Choose accommodation which shows it cares about sustainable development (eco-friendly accommodation) or which has been awarded an eco-label and which pursues a policy of corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • Select a hotel that's as close as possible to the venue or well connected to public transport
  • Book a smaller hotel (number of participants permitting) to enjoy an atmosphere with more "authenticity" or "charm" and to benefit the local economy of smaller enterprises
  • Paid attention to the products available in the hotel (room, cathering, etc. ) Are they organic, local, sustainable, and/or Fair Trade?
 

Transport and mobility

Transport services between meeting/conference venues have a considerable impact on the environment. Ideally, a sustainable event should devise a sustainable transport plan.

Key points to consider:
  • Prioritise environmentally-friendly transport (public transport, bike, etc.)
  • Prioritise car-sharing
  • Make sure there is place to store bicycles
  • Offer your participants carbon offsetting: money equivalent to the emissions produced will help to finance ecological projects
 

Catering

The sustainability of your event also depends on the quality of the meals served at your meetings. Providing food that your customers like and that's healthy and sustainable is possible!

Key points to consider:
  • Take into consideration environmental criteria when selecting a caterer
  • Choose sustainable or Fair Trade | Bio food, local and seasonal products
  • Favour the use of glass over plastic bottles
  • Offer a vegetarian menu and, thus, reduce the ecological footprint of your event
  • Avoid food waste (tell participants that it is important for them to confirm their attendance in order to avoid waste, tell the caterer the final number of participants a few days prior to the event)
  • Favour biodegradable and compostable utensils (plates, cutlery)
 
Brusselicious 2012
Brussels will highlight its culinary delights throughout 2012. Brusselicious, or the year of gastronomy, will be encouraging the people of Brussels and visitors to sample the gastronomic delights of our capital at numerous events. Sustainable gastronomy will be a key feature
www.brusselicious.be
 

Waste

The reduction of waste should be planned carefully before, during and after the event.

Key points to consider:
  • Avoid paper and plastic items for the communication material & invitations
  • Minimise printed material (e.g. double-sided printing)
  • Avoid ordering more food and drinks than needed
  • Reuse conference material and buy sustainable material
  • Sort, recycle and compost any waste
  • Organize a "Zero Waste Event" (Ecocycle & Zero Waste Europe )

In 2011, VisitBrussels has taken part in the European Week for Waste Reduction, a project backed by the European Commission's LIFE+ programme.
To find out more: www.ewwr.eu
 

Invitation & Conference Material

At this stage of the process, the costs of conference material and sending out invitations can be cut significantly. Reducing the amount of printed paper, as well as saving time and energy!

Key points to consider:
  • Minimise the quantity of printed paper and prioritise communication by e-mail
  • Use recyclable paper and print on both sides
  • Minimise promotional material (bags and other gifts) and choose products made with sustainable materials or from social projects
  • Retrieve the material from your conferences after the event in order to reuse it or redistribute it to a charity.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Social Program: Leisure & Team-building

Culture, leisure and discoveries in sustainable mode.

Exemples:
  • Ecological coaching
  • Bike tours
  • Sustainable cooking
  • Local beers tasting
 
 
 

Social Legacy

Integrate a social approach to your event because each gesture counts... There are several possibilities to support: make a donation, find the funds, take actions (purchases, voluntary work, create employment, ...)
 

 
Most common activities:
  • Make donations to local or (inter)national charities
  • Take part to environmental projects
  • Take part to construction/renovation projects
  • Personal interaction with locals
  • Hiring local performers
  • Free/reduced places for locals
  • Delegates giving lecturers locally
  • Packing food for local food-banks and distributing it to the homeless, senior citizens, and families in need ...
 
 

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