The Forum’s first stand-alone conference took place at Hackle Brooke Conference Centre in July last year and was a resounding success. This year’s conference aims to inspire and equip business leaders to pave the way for a better, more sustainable future. It will delve into issues surrounding carbon offsetting, the risks of greenwashing, and business best practices, as part of the theme “Sustainability: The Business Case”.
When planning a ‘green’ event, conference or exhibition a number of things need to be considered to ensure it is successful. “As the Event Greening Forum, we felt that it was important for us to walk the talk” says Greg McManus, EGF Chairman, “We wanted not only to support one of our members but also a venue that has gone the extra mile in promoting and implementing sustainable practices into its organisation. We feel this should be one of the first things that organisers ask venues when making a booking or enquiry”.
It was encouraging to receive proposals from members and non-members alike, but the sustainable initiatives that Valverde Eco Hotel included in its proposal stood out for us.
Here are just a few things that Valverde Eco Hotel is doing to ensure the venue walks the green talk:
Valverde Eco Hotel has implemented a number of water saving initiatives. These include the installation of a grey water recycling plant. This means that all wastewater (baths, sinks, washing machines and other kitchen appliances) runs through a natural water filtering system to remove fats and contaminants. The filtered water is collected into two dams which are a complete ecosystem stocked with fish and indigenous aquatic plants. The hotel has also installed low-flow shower heads, toilet flush diverters and water-wise drip irrigation, ensuring they only use water where needed.
Valverde Eco Hotel has installed solar geysers for all guestrooms and the hotel’s kitchen. The hotel has also started the process of converting all its lights to energy efficient bulbs; they have currently converted 70% of the lighting.
Valverde Eco Hotel separates paper, glass, cans and organic waste onsite. The waste is then sent to nearby plants for recycling. The implementation of worm farms and Bokashi in the kitchen has changed the way they generate waste. Not only does this reduce methane emissions from landfills, it also lowers the hotel’s carbon footprint. The worm farms and Bokashi assist the hotel with the creation of fertiliser and compost for use in the venue’s gardens.
Social and Economic Benefits
Not only does Valverde Eco Hotel grow some of its produce in-house, they also support local farmers in the area when additional produce is required. By purchasing foods in season from local farms, they support local business and also reduce environmental damage caused by shipping foods thousands of kilometres. In addition, eating fresh, unprocessed fruit and vegetable has a number of health benefits and tastes better.
Sourcing environmentally friendly suppliers can be a challenge, but Valverde Eco Hotel has located a number of key suppliers who assist with supplying eco-friendly chemical products, from washing powder and cleaning products to guests’amenities.Jane Tshuma, Sales Consultant of Valverde Eco Hotel, said that they use Bano Brite, a cleaning product that is completely enzyme based, having a positive impact on the environment.
New to the 2017 Conference
We will be introducing the Sustainability Village concept into this year’s conference. The Sustainability Village was launched at the International Federation of Exhibition and Event Services (IFES) Master Class in November 2016 and was again implemented at Meetings Africa 2017. The idea behind the village is to do away with traditional gifting for speakers and delegates.Instead, each speaker will receive a gift voucher which they can ‘spend’ at the on-site vendors.This enables the speakers to choose from a selection of handcrafted, Africa-inspired items to find something they will treasure for years to come.
Conference tickets can be purchased via the Event Greening Forum website –www.eventgreening.co.za. The conference programme is currently being finalised. For more information contact Lynn McLeod on +27 82 891 5883or email firstname.lastname@example.org.