Why a checklist?

Within the UXcamp AMS organizing team we set an explicit goal to run our events as sustainable as we can and with as low of an environmental footprint as possible. But we all know, the closer we get to opening the doors, and things get really busy, sustainability can easily become a "nice to have". And often it's not even the conscious and explicitly made choices that make a Camp less sustainable and create waste. It's the the implicit ones. The questions we don't ask. The options we are not aware of. The choices we miss because we are too busy with other things.

To prevent this we added our first sustainability consultant Giulia (a fan, not an expert herself) to our UXcamp AMS team this year. Giulia is helping and educating us to understand the ecological footprint of UXcamp AMS and where we can make better and different choices to improve it.

Part of this project is the development of this checklist, which in a circular spirit, we would like to share back to the community and other camp organizers. Let us know if this is helpful and if you have any feedback!


Choosing a venue

Getting to the Venue

Trigger question

Is the venue easy to reach by public transport?

Outcome/Metric

If attendees can reach the venue by public transport, walking, or by bike the CO2 emission caused by getting to and from the venue are kept at a minimum.

Recommendations

  • Chose a venue in a central location, well connected to public transport

  • Suggest preferred travel options on the event website

  • Remind attendees about travel options in last attendee email

Venue Energy Rating

Trigger question

Is the venue getting all or part of its electricity from a green supplier? Has the venue some energy saving measures in place?

Outcome/Metric

If so, the energy footprint of the event is kept low and energy would not unnecessarily (or avoidably) be wasted.

Recommendations

If you do not know whether a venue is more sustainable than another one, use the questionnaire for venue managers created by WWF

Drinking Water

Trigger question

Does the venue provide drinking water stations?

Outcome/Metric

If yes, the event organizers can inform the attendees to bring their own drinking bottles. This avoids large amounts of plastic bottles that would be thrown away.

Recommendations

  • Organize water dispensers or fresh water supply like join the pijp

  • Inform attendees to bring their own water bottles

  • Provide glasses at the venue


Catering

Finding Sustainable Catering

Trigger question

What kind of sustainability policy does the supplier have in place?

Outcome/Metric

Reduce packaging, carbon footprint (transportation), avoid energy waste, and recycle/reuse leftovers.

Recommendations

When possible choose a supplier that:

  • Propose to use biodegradable or reusable plates-cutlery

  • Has a sustainable solution for leftovers (is there a way to reuse them?) If not, you can connect the supplier with some rescuing food NGO in the city.

  • Has equipment located close to the venue (If food need to be transported to the event, how and for how long will travel?)

Selecting Food

Trigger question

Has the menu a low-environmental impact? Is it healthy?

Outcome/Metric

Eating locally and in season would help reduce food miles (and thereby carbon footprint) but the more effective dietary change is the one low in meat and diary. It  is probably the single biggest way to reduce our impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, land use and water use.

Recommendations

  • Always ask for details of sourcing for all key ingredients on the menu.

  • Check that as far as possible the supplier is using seasonal ingredients and at least from the same country as the event. Well, being seasonal and local is not enough actually. The ingredients should be also organic.

  • Ask for cutting down on the red meat on the menu – go for vegetarian for the most.

  • Ask the supplier to choose fresh, natural ingredients rather than highly processed foods.

  • Try to be as accurate on guest numbers as possible. Check what is the latest date you can specify numbers to the supplier, it will help them in reducing waste.

Drinks

Trigger question

Why not serving Fairtrade Tea-Coffee?

Outcome/Metric

Choosing a trustable fairtrade products means to encourage environmental sustainability, as well as  ensuring that the people involved in production were treated and compensated fairly.

Recommendations

When possible choose a supplier that;


Printed Materials

Registration and Tickets

Trigger question

Are you printing only the necessary documents?

Outcome/Metric

Decrease, cut, lessen or to diminish the utilization of raw or natural resources

Recommendations

  • Use emails and e-documents

  • If printing is necessary,  make sure that you use vegetable-based inks when you print documents and print on 100% recycled-content paper.

Badges

Trigger question

Are name badges made with recycled materials?

Outcome/Metric

Decrease, cut, lessen or to diminish the utilization of raw or natural resources

Recommendations

  • Avoid laminates, foil blocking and binding types that will make it harder to recycle paper after use.

  • Choose recycled and reclaimed materials, natural fibres such as bamboo, organic cotton, FSC wood and cornstarch

  • badges and lanyards can be collected at the end of the event and reused or recycled.

  • Try to be as precise as possible on the number of badges you print. If your event is for free,  inform the people via email to cancel at least 3 days before the event in order to avoid overprinted materials

Banners, Signs, Posters

Trigger question

Is there a sustainable option?

Outcome/Metric

Decrease, cut, lessen or to diminish the utilization of raw or natural resources

Recommendations

  • Banners are often made from PVC or other materials which are difficult to recycle materials so look into a biodegradable option such as cotton, cardboard or cornstarch.

  • If possible, design printed materials to have life beyond the event (for instance, do not include the event date).

Merchandise & Swag

Trigger question

Is there a sustainable option for giveaways?

Outcome/Metric

Decrease, cut, lessen or to diminish the utilization of raw or natural resources

Recommendations

  • Inform the sponsors that one of your goal is to create a sustainable UX Camp. Why not proposing them to show up bringing eco friendly Swags (of course they are welcome even without?)

  • And what about you UX Team. Are you already thinking about your eco Swag? 🌱