Sustainability is no longer an add-on benefit in the convention industry -- it’s an expectation. As more attendees identify with the movement to make the Earth a better place, meeting professionals must take big steps to put the on-site experience on track toward using less energy and producing less waste. In 2014, ITB Asia did exactly that, elevating its eco-friendly efforts with a goal to reduce its overall carbon footprint by five percent versus the event’s 2012 levels.
“ITB Asia and all that it entails can have a tremendous impact on the environment,” Nino Greuttke, Executive Director, ITB Asia, said as the organization prepared for the 2014 event. “With a little mindfulness, we can all take measures to reduce the show’s ecological footprint, and I urge all exhibitors to join us and roll on the green revolution.”
Making A Much Bigger Eco-Friendly Impact
So how did ITB Asia perform? With the help of the sustainability experts at host venue Marina Bay Sands and show organizer Messe Berlin, ITB Asia did better than its original goal of five percent and managed to reduce its overall carbon footprint by 34 percent. New motion sensors in the meeting rooms at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre made a big difference in terms of electricity efficiency and helped reduce the total amount of electricity consumed by 34.5 percent. At the end of the three-day event, the ITB Asia team donated unused booth giveaways and stationery to charity and recycled 2.6 tons of conference brochures.
However, the impact of Marina Bay Sands and ITB Asia extended well beyond the community in Singapore. The carbon credits were invested in two regional climate change mitigation projects, in Malaysia and Indonesia, to offset the entire carbon footprint of the three-day event.
Many venue operators around the world have embraced eco-friendly initiatives, and Marina Bay Sands has established itself as a global leader in going green.
“Through our leadership efforts, we hope to further the conversations on sustainability and spur more companies and individuals to go green wherever possible,” Benny Zin, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Conventions & Exhibits, Marina Bay Sands, said in a reflection on the recent efforts at ITB Asia.
Thinking Ahead: The Long-Term Sustainability Plan
At Marina Bay Sands, going green has been ingrained in its operations since day one through its global sustainability program, Sands Eco360°. The integrated resort’s long term sustainability plan is to reduce environmental impact by introducing innovative technologies, such as renewables and better building management systems.
While it is important to have the right infrastructure and technology, being able to share expertise to help others embrace best practices can make a game-changing difference for the entire industry. Marina Bay Sands constantly cultivates new and improved ways to grow the support of all of its 9,400 employees, F&B tenants, partners, suppliers and guests.
A strong testament to this is the diversion of food waste from the integrated resort’s F&B tenants. Through the usage of food digesters, which breaks down waste into liquid and then passes it through to the sewage system, Marina Bay Sands has diverted an average of 75,000 kilograms of food waste each month.
“It has been a fruitful journey in helping others embrace practices and products that are beneficial for the environment,” Erica Ng, Manager, Communications at Marina Bay Sands, says. “This philosophy and commitment doesn’t just benefit the environment and the community. It simply makes business sense.”
This educational article was brought to you by Marina Bay Sands. Click here to learn even more about the property’s award-winning commitment to making every meeting have a big impact on attendees while having a small impact on the environment.