As a signatory of the Global Principles for Socially Responsible Associations & Nonprofits, ASAE has integrated greener, eco-friendly operations, and socially beneficial practices into every level of our meetings and event management.
These efforts range from aggressive recycling programs to sustainable site selection of host cities such as Nashville, which was recently named a top green-meeting destination by GreenBiz.com.
You also will witness sustainability efforts by our partners — for instance, the Silver LEED-certified Music City Center posts cool QR codes to identify its sustainability initiatives, including the largest green roof in the Southeast.
Here are other ways we're delivering on our sustainability values at this conference:
- All badge holders, badge stock, clips, lanyards, and ribbons are eco-friendly, thanks to business partner Kleertech. Even if the badge holders, lanyard links, or clips are sent to a landfill, they are completely anaerobic or aerobically disintegrate in as few as five years without leaving behind any toxic residue. Ribbons are biodegradable within five years because they are made of cellulose fiber (wood). BIO-D badge holders are made of clear, virgin PVC film treated with proprietary pro-degradant additive. This ensures the product meets the highest standards of biodegradation (ASTM D5210 & D5511) as verified by independent, third-party, ASTM-certified laboratories. Even the holder attachments are made from virgin polypropylene treated with Kleertech's proprietary pro-degradant additive. In addition, the lanyards are made of 100%-recycled-content PET.
- Your badge will be e-mailed for proofing prior to printing onsite, to save carbon emissions from postal delivery. Just bring your confirmation e-mail via your phone or a print-out, and we'll print your badge onsite.
- You also can choose whether you want to receive a printed or virtual meeting brochure. In addition, all session handouts will be Web-accessible to diminish paper usage and help you organize the tremendous amount of knowledge being shared. For convenience, we again are offering wireless Internet connection onsite.
- All printers we use onsite at the Music City Center are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a nonprofit third party that determines responsible, sustainable forest growth and harvesting. Nearly 90% of our printed materials are on paper that is 50% recycled and 30% post-consumer waste. All ink is soy- or vegetable-based, and we aim to use reduced-chemical digital toner devices.
- To diminish the amount of paper used for maps, ASAE is again encouraging you to download the free meeting application for your mobile phone. Keep an eye out for news of when you can download this easy tool, featuring a full schedule, a tradeshow map, exhibitor listings and information, and much more.
- The 18 host hotels chosen for you each have sustainability programs in place. Ask about them and then participate while onsite, we'll have more details about green hotel highlights soon. Some of the way hotels green are by reusing your linens, turning off hotel lights and televisions when you leave, walking or taking a shuttle, and recycling. Studies show that people (even those normally practicing environmental conservation in their daily habits) tend to get sloppy in their habits on business trips and create more waste, use more energy, and take fewer eco-friendly actions than at home. Please don't be one of those people!
- “Community Connections” are our legacy service projects customized annually to address local social or environmental challenges within our host city. With guidance from the local host committee, we've set up ways to support this year's worthy charity, Second Harvest. This hunger relief nonprofit provides four meals for every donated dollar and helps thousands of needy people. We are donating registration fees from the popular 5K fun run and insider tours to Second Harvest, and we also invite your participation at several short in-person food bank projects. Elect to participate when you register and be sure to sign up soon since space for some of them is limited. Register today.
- Everyone loves great southern cooking, so we'll be tapping the sustainable culinary fabulousness that abounds in Nashville. Come hungry and enjoy our healthy, seasonal menus that feature uniquely local ingredients and cooking styles designed to spice up your experience! Due to overwhelming positive feedback, we will again be responding separately to those registrants who indicate they have food allergies. We are happy to share menus ahead of time, offer allergy-free alternatives wherever possible, and are committed to label food and beverages carefully.
- As in previous years, you'll use china or reusable, biodegradable, and/or compostable dining ware. Leftovers? No such thing anymore--the facility composts and donates excess food to the Nashville Rescue Mission and Walden's Puddle animal rescue.
- Nashville uses single-stream recycling, and the convention center requires vendors and staff to participate. Recyclables include light bulbs, batteries, cooking oil, plastic, aluminum, e-waste, mixed paper, cardboard, and wooden pallets. Look for signage on the center's TVs.
- Music City Center is a remarkably green facility, recognized with the second-highest ranking of the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) designation. Its 175,000-square-foot green roof, designed to resemble the hills of the region, reduces water runoff and energy usage, filters rainwater, and insulates. Rainwater is captured in a massive cistern, then used to flush more than 500 toilets/urinals and irrigate native landscaping. Optimized energy technologies — including energy generated via the venue's 845 solar panels--and occupancy sensors keep indoor temperatures and humidity comfortable for crowds of any size. And high-quality indoor air quality — which helps keeps you alert and healthy — is achieved through the use of only low-emitting volatile organic compounds (VOCs) materials, green-certified cleaners, living plants, and high-efficiency air filters. For a full overview, visit here[
- Most of the 18 host hotels are within an easily walkable four blocks of the convention center, while the rest can take “green shuttle service” with fuel-efficient, eco-friendly operations. Our transportation firm is designing the most efficient transportation system possible with the fewest number of motor coaches traveling the least distances possible to meet our — and your — transportation needs.We encourage you to ride this bus system to reduce our carbon footprint and create an effective "car pool" that replaces the need for pollution-generating private vehicles such as taxis and cars. A single motor coach can remove the use of 55 cars from the highway, thus reducing traffic congestion around our events and excessive idling and carbon dioxide emissions.
- Travel to a meeting means generating more greenhouse gases, whether from flying, driving, or taking the train. ASAE encourages attendees to participate in the various airline sustainability programs that these companies have set up to offset your carbon footprint.
- The ASAE Convene Green Alliance, a community of association meeting professionals and industry partners committed to sustainable meetings, is holding two behind-the-scenes events:
- A Green Safari for Meeting Professionals (pre-registration required) at the new Omni Nashville
- A Big-Impact Green Meeting Tips for Small Associations (co-hosted with Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation)
- Our longtime show producer and partner, Hargrove, which also is an ASAE Convene Green Alliance industry member, has an extensive sustainability strategy in place that it demonstrates in its activities at the Annual Meeting. Their commitment to eco-friendly materials and operations includes using 100% recyclable and biodegradable signage and substrates as a standard offering. Our reusable, reconfigurable signs keep us from adding to crowded landfills and save money long-term.
- We again will distribute “green exhibitor” tips to vendors and exhibitors, focusing on ways to reduce waste, energy, and air pollution.
We sincerely thank Visit Nashville, our host hotels, and the vendors and exhibitors for being such enthusiastic partners in achieving our green goals.
Although we have tried to examine each planning step, each buying decision, each vendor choice with sustainability in mind, we know that we're on a constant journey as new innovations and services become available and cost-effective. While we are excited about what we have accomplished so far, we ask that you please do your part as a “green attendee,” so we can reduce eco-impacts of our meeting, better the community, and create a positive learning experience.
We'll be updating this information regularly, so check back often to monitor our progress and feel free to share suggestions with Amy Ledoux,firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on the Global Principles or the ASAE Convene Green Alliance, visit www.asaecenter.org/srprinciples or www.convenegreen.com. You also can find plenty of sustainability resources, cases, tools, and news at www.asaecenter.org/socialresponsibility.