As our manifesto states, we are here to “protect the many diverse kinds of life on our planet”. The great gathering of incredible, passionate changemakers that happens every year at the IFC is undoubtedly one of the best ways for us all to work towards this goal: To connect, to share ideas, to learn from each other, to mobilise, to make change happen.
However, such a convening of 1000 people from all corners of the globe comes with its own environmental cost. Without taking conscious steps to address this, the carbon footprint of a conference like the IFC can be very large.
This is why we are setting out our action plan to greatly reduce the environmental impact of the IFC this year and in future years as we strive to make our event a sustainable option way beyond our 40th anniversary in 2020.
Now, here’s the key thing: We can only achieve this if our community is willing to take the journey with us. With so many people travelling long distances to reap the immeasurable benefits that come from attending the IFC in person, we need your help to achieve our sustainability goals.
Here’s what WE are doing in 2019:
- Providing a largely vegetarian menu with limited sustainable chicken/fish options
- Eliminating single-use plastics from the conference centre and onsite hotel
- Eliminating paper evaluation forms – these will now be completed via our mobile app
- Eliminating the paper conference programme – the timetable will now be solely available on the mobile app and on display around the conference centre
- All Europe-based staff will be travelling overland (not flying) to the IFC
- Carbon-offsetting flights from any non-Europe based staff using www.atmosfair.de.
- All materials used for building the exhibition space and signage at the conference centre will be created from upcycled, recycled and recyclable materials. We work with Creative Composers who design and develop bespoke, beautiful and soulful campaigns, installations and exhibition features all over the globe, with “love & respect for planet earth and mother nature“.
- Providing delegates with reusable fair trade conference bags made from recycled PET fabric and created by social enterprise, Township Bags.
- Providing conference badges made from recycled plastic that can be recycled again at the end of the event
- Providing lanyards made from bamboo
- Partnering with an electric taxi company to provide airport transfers outside of our standard shuttle bus times.
Here’s what YOU can do to help us in 2019:
- Around 80% of the carbon footprint for a conference like ours comes from attendee travel to the event – this is why it is vital that our community work together to improve the sustainability of the IFC as a whole and future-proof the event in environmental terms:
- Whenever possible, we strongly encourage participants to travel overland by train to reach us. Amsterdam Schiphol rail station is a travel hub that is very well serviced from most other European cities, including a 4-hour direct Eurostar service from London.
- For IFC participants who must travel by plane, we ask that all attendees pay a small contribution to carbon neutralise their travel. Carbon emissions from your flight(s) can be calculated and offset with most accuracy and efficacy through an online Gold Standard charity, such as atmosfair.de.
- Reuse your towels and linen at your hotel during conference week
- Bring your own reusable water bottle (we won’t be providing water bottles to delegates this year)
- Bring a reusable coffee cup to use during your time in the Netherlands
- Download our mobile app (released soon!) so you can read the conference programme and complete session evaluation forms online (there will be no paper versions this year)
- Get some more eco-inspiration if you have some more time to explore further afield in Amsterdam:
- Fashion For Good – the world’s first museum dedicated to sustainable fashion innovation
- Nemo Science Museum – visit the ‘green roof’ that is home to 17,500 plants and 20,000 bees!
- The Hermitage Museum and Hortus Botanicus – which are connected by a system of pipes, 425 metres long. The Hermitage needs to keep its art cool, which means it has a heat surplus. The Palm Greenhouse in Hortus Botanicus needs to keep its plants warm. So, the residual heat from the art museum is transported to the greenhouse, and cold water is sent the other way. Thanks to this smart exchange of heat and cold, they save 77,215 m3 of gas, 200,000 kWh of energy, 259,000 kilos of CO2, and 12,950 trees every year.
- You can also help by letting us know your own ideas for what else we can be doing!
Here’s what we plan to do in 2020 and beyond:
- Transition to a fully-vegetarian menu for IFC 2020 – dependant on community feedback
- Collect as much data from this year’s event to more accurately calculate the carbon footprint of the IFC, so we can work out what is needed for us to….
- Move towards a zero waste and carbon neutral event
- Identify sustainability partners who can help us better achieve this goal – let us know if you have any suggestions!