Following its objective to advance sustainability transformation, SRI is committed to reducing its environmental impacts in all aspects of event organization – thus walking the talk. The extent we can do it depends on multiple factors, such as our local venue and services available, as well as the cultural context. Through our conversations with the venue, hotels and other local suppliers and contractors, we keep advocating for a change in the event industry. What is feasible each year and in each country may not match our ambition level, but the team is doing everything it can to create as sustainable a convening as possible. Read below more about our efforts.
“The events industry demands the incorporation of sustainability criteria in the integral management of all its actions, and one of the fundamental pillars are environmental issues where the goal is the permanent reduction of the carbon footprint. We have to set an example and make our team, our users, our suppliers, and our entire value chain part of all our processes.” – Rodolfo del Valle, PCC Director
SRI has chosen to partner with the Panama Convention Center (PCC) to host the in-person 2023 Congress. Completed in 2020, PCC is the largest, most technologically advanced, convention center in the region with a capacity of up to 23,000 guests and 61,175 m2 of configurable and contiguous interior areas.
The PCC is committed to sustainable environmental practices, which include:
- Minimizing energy consumption: The building has plenty of natural light and includes motion sensors for turning lights on and off. In addition, LED lighting optimizes energy use.
- PCC seriously follows the national law regarding rational use of energy, UREE.
- Certified potable water is used in the PCC with the aim to reduce the use of bottled water.
- Minimizing water consumption: PCC collects, treats, and distributes potable and wastewater that is reused for sanitation and irrigation systems for green areas.
- Recycling efforts:
- Strong recycling culture and employee training in waste management and disposal.
- Appropriate disposal and separation of waste by glass, cardboard, paper, and plastic.
- Increased signaling on recycling and resource utilization.
- Partnerships with student volunteers to supervise waste disposal.
- Recycling of oil in the kitchen to sell it to companies for use as a fuel source.
- In the absence of municipal collection, PCC partners with a private company for final disposal of paper and plastic.
- SRI is in conversations with PCC regarding how to maximize the sustainability of the event and support PCC in its efforts to be a pioneer in the next generation convening.
Traveling generates carbon emissions, but there are ways to compensate for those emissions and support significant environmental projects and innovation.
SRI offsets the carbon emissions of all in-person Congress participants by investing in the removal of carbon from the Earth’s atmosphere. With the SRI Idea Market Special call, SRI seeks to support, through its carbon offset funds, an innovative initiative that can be scaled up and effectively contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions of the Congress. The winning project will receive start-up funding of USD $3500 to be used for further development of the initiative.
We partner with CopaAirlines, which is developing an ambitious sustainability policy.
SRI also offers the opportunity to attend the Congress online or reduce the distance traveled by attending regional meetings, such as the SRI Africa Satellite Event.
Printing and Congress Goods
To reduce waste, SRI is using paperless communication whenever possible. Exhibitors and sponsors are encouraged to digitally display their brochures, flyers and/or any other documents either in-person or virtual booths.
Food & Dining
SRI is collaborating with the PCC to offer Congress participants food that is grown locally and sustainably, with many vegetarian options. Coffee offered at the conference will be purchased from local coffee producers from the Chiriqui Association. To avoid waste, the PCC will donate leftover food to local organizations when possible.
SRI will only use stainless steel and porcelain dishware for all meals served during the Congress. SRI will avoid pre-packed food in plastic wrappers. We will send a reminder to our in-person attendees prior to the Congress to encourage them to bring their own water bottles, since we will not be offering plastic water bottles. Only water dispensers will be available at the venue.
Several hotels recommended by SRI2023 are committed to reducing water and energy consumption with a sustainability policy in place. We have had conversations with Radisson Panama Canal, the only hotel within a short walking distance from PCC and where many SRI attendees will be staying, regarding sustainability.