The organisers of the annual congress of the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI), which will be held at the Indaba Hotel in Fourways, Johannesburg from 29 to 31 July 2012, say a number of actions will be implemented to minimise the environmental impact of the event.

Congress chairman Wayne Johnson says the organising committee has incorporated environmentally friendly principles in all aspects of the event, involving suppliers, contractors, delegates and partners.

As the official representative body for the conference industry, SAACI is leading by example in this respect. We are taking every possible practical step to reduce the carbon footprint of the congress, in conjunction with the Heritage Environmental Management Company.

Amongst others, waste produced at the congress will be separated, recovered and recycled by Apple Green Holdings and the carbon dioxide equivalent of the event will be calculated using information on energy usage, water usage, waste management and transport.

The carbon footprint of the congress will be offset through Food and Trees for Africa, with a tree planting initiative as the main offsetting programme.

Johnson says jugged water will be served to delegates to help reduce the amount of waste generated. Bottled water will only be served to delegates on their request. Delegates will also be requested not to discard any unwanted collateral they may receive, but rather to return it for recycling.

In addition, all unnecessary lights, air-conditioners and other equipment will be switched off when not in use, delegate registration is done online only and delegate transport, courtesy of Avis, will be planned carefully to combine trips to and from the airports wherever possible.

According to Johnson close on 300 delegates are expected to attend the congress. However, registration is still open. This congress will shift your paradigm I have no doubt about that.

The 2012 SAACI congress is supported by the Gauteng Convention Bureau, the Johannesburg Convention Bureau, the SA National Convention Bureau, South African Airways, Complete Exhibitions, Gearhouse, Showgroup and First Impressions.