Sustainability Commitment

At GBS Africa, we recognize that the conference and events industry has a direct impact on the local, regional and global environment. As a company we are dedicated to providing a high quality of service while minimizing the environmental impact, both of our own company, and of the events we organize.

The ways in which we try to reduce the impact of our clients’ events include:

  • Assessing the social, economic and environmental impact at the start of the planning process
  • Including sustainability clauses in contracts
  • Reducing, reusing and recycling wherever possible
  • Communicating electronically rather than by paper
  • Minimizing the impact of travel
  • Thinking about the wellbeing of our delegates, our suppliers, the local community and any other stakeholders
  • Raising awareness of our efforts and sharing best practice

Transport

In order to reduce the need for and impact of travel, wherever possible we:

  • Consider whether video or teleconferencing might be a viable alternative
  • If not, consider where delegates are travelling from and choose a location which minimizes the requirement for travel, particularly by plane/car
  • Recommend accommodation within walking distance of the venue or use a venue which also offers accommodation
  • Try to find venues close to public transport and promote the available public transport links to delegates
  • Provide a link to a map and tell delegates how they can reach the venue on foot
  • Offer a shuttle service as well as encourage taxi-sharing where the venue is not in walking distance of public transport
  • Encourage car-sharing, for those travelling by car by putting delegates in touch with others travelling from the same areas
  • Offset carbon emissions or encourage delegates to offset their own

 

Venues

  • Where possible, we try to use venues which have sustainable or environmental policies or have an environmental management system certified to a national or international standard.
  • We try to use venues of appropriate size for the number of attendees to limit excessive heating and cooling
  • We encourage the use of in-house equipment thus reducing the need for transportation
  • We choose venues which maximize natural lighting thus reducing the need for electric lighting
  • We make sure all electrical equipment and power supplies are turned off when not in use
  • We use heating and air conditioning sparingly and use natural ventilation where possible
  • Arrange stands/displays etc to maximize use of natural light
  • Provide clearly labeled recycling bins for different types of waste and advertise their presence

Suppliers

We work with environmentally conscious and sustainable suppliers, where possible who comply with our sustainability policy:

  • The supplier will use energy and water as efficiently as possible
  • The supplier will comply with the event organizer’s waste management requirements, including a recycling policy
  • The supplier will comply with the event organizer’s sustainable catering requirements
  • The supplier will measure their impacts relating to the event, e.g. food miles, energy use, waste produced and recycled, water used

Catering

Where possible, to reduce wastage, we encourage attendees to sign up for meals in advance to reduce wastage and ask which sessions they plan to attend.
We ask our caterers as far as possible to:

  • Serve fresh produce in season
  • Consider produce meeting farm assurance standards
  • Fish from sustainably managed sources
  • Use fairly traded products, such as coffee, tea, bananas and chocolate
  • Provide vegetarian options and choices suited to specific dietary requirements
  • Produce healthy and nutritious meals, avoiding foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar
  • Provide fresh fruit as an alternative to prepared desserts
  • Serve food in bulk rather than individually packaged
  • Offer tap water to drink. If bottled water is unavoidable, buy water in biodegradable corn-based bottles or, as a last resort, ensure the bottles are recycled
  • Operate a recycling scheme, including composting
  • Reuse crockery, glassware, cutlery, tablecloths etc

Communication

  • Where possible, we communicate local attractions and amenities to our delegates to benefit the local economy and educate delegates
  • Paper Waste
    • We avoid excessive paper usage by carrying out all marketing, correspondence and registration electronically
    • We ensure that all paper waste is collected and recycled
    • We reuse used paper for printing drafts
    • We use double sided printing and non-glossy, recycled paper, with vegetable based inks, where possible
    • We print documents in black and white rather than color
  • Handouts
    • We format handouts to minimize the amount of paper required by reducing the margins, font size and printing double-sided
    • We provide links to downloads of literature rather than providing large handouts, or offer documents on CDs or memory sticks, where possible
    • We have a laptop and printer on site so that literature can be printed out on demand if delegates require hard copies
  • We use whiteboards rather than paper flipcharts, where possible
  • We use reusable, rather than event-specific, name badges, signs and display materials and collect these items after the event for reuse
  • We use pens and pencils made from recycled/sustainable materials
  • If reusable materials are not appropriate, we use recycled and/or recyclable materials for packaging, paper etc
  • We use reusable or recycled bags rather than plastic, and advertise the benefits on the bags
  • Where possible leftover delegate bags are sent to charity
  • We return all unused sponsor items to sponsors for reuse

Raising Awareness

  • We make delegates aware of the sustainability measures being taken to improve the image and reputation of the client and to protect the environment

Evaluation

  • We evaluate the success of the measures taken and learn for next time. Where possible we offer delegates the opportunity to provide feedback
  • We use carbon calculators to calculate the emissions generated by the event.