Sustainability Initiatives –

Environmental Quality at SETAC Events

“SETAC’s mission is to support and facilitate the development of principles and practices for the protection, enhancement and management of sustainable environmental quality and ecosystem integrity.”

With this in mind, we are convinced that not only we should strive towards organising sustainable events, but that SETAC, as organiser of large events, can play a role in having more sustainable products and initiatives in the meeting industry. Although the influence is sometimes limited, we think that every step is important.

A sustainable event balances environmental, social and economic responsibilities. Our objective is to organise events in a way that minimises potential impact on the environment.

Read more on the SETAC’s sustainability guidelines.

Below you will find a list of initiatives that are in place for the Dublin meeting and for future events.

Read as well about sustainability efforts from the Convention Centre Dublin, the world’s first carbon-neutral constructed venue.

  • SETAC Europe contacts all hotels listed on the meeting website to inform them about the importance of taking sustainable initiatives to reduce waste, energy consumption, etc.
  • Since a couple of years, we have introduced “Wednesday – Veggie Day” (vegetarian food only). Due to its success, we are now having a full Veggie Week at SETAC Dublin Annual Meeting.
  • The vast majority of the Convention Cenre Dublin’s (CCD) food produce are locally sourced. This ensures their meals are fresh and in season whilst also supporting local farmers. In addition, all chocolate, tea and coffee supplies are fair trade. Read more about CCD’s healthy and sustainable food options.
  • As from this year, we have a carbon offset programme available. Read more about it below.
  • The Convention Center Dublin (CCD) is a 10-minute walk from the city centre and is easily accessible by public transport. With plenty of hotels, restaurants and entertainment within walking distance, you will automatically reduce your carbon emissions without even realising it!
  • SETAC Europe will as much as possible strive for sustainable events, which will be mentioned in the request for tender for future destinations.
  • 88% of our participants still require a conference bag. Unused bags are given to local schools and/or charity organisations.
  • The number of printed abstract books has reduced considerably over the last 5 years.
  • The programme book is printed on FSC-certified
  • We have reduced the number of pages over the years and reduced its weight by 24%.
  • We have limited the number of inserts and encourage sponsors and partners to choose an advertisement instead.
  • All announcements and invitations are electronic.
  • We encourage participants to use the mobile app as much as possible.
  • Any eco-friendly notebook that is not used at the meeting is donated to local schools and/or charity organisations.
  • Badges are eco-friendly and the lanyards are reused at future meetings.
  • Flags and banners are reused every year.
  • Prior to the meeting, exhibitors will receive an e-mail encouraging them to reduce waste as much as possible, including a message of reconsidering their policy regarding gadgets, etc.
  • SETAC’s policy on sustainability will be integrated in the exhibitor’s manual.
  • When choosing the menus for our socials we always ask for sustainable local food.
  • Attendance to socials are mentioned directly on the badge and no more tickets are distributed.
  • Just over a year after opening, The Convention Centre Dublin (CCD) received the accreditation from Environmental Standard ISO 14001. The implementation of these ISO standards throughout the CCD helps them to maintain delivery efficiencies and ensure continual improvement in environmental sustainability. To retain ISO certification, they are audited on a regular basis.
  • CCD has a waste management policy in place to help manage the generation and segregation of waste, and they continually work hard to monitor and improve their recycling figures, which rank consistently above 95%.
  • Eco produce: CCD Hospitality takes care to ensure that all their products are considered eco-friendly. They use 100% recycled napkins and wooden stir sticks, and all their disposable coffee cups are broken down to SRF waste. In addition, the vast majority of their food produce, including all beef and chicken supplies, are locally sourced. This ensures their meals are fresh and in season whilst also supporting local farmers. In addition, all chocolate, tea and coffee supplies are fair trade. While CCD Cleaning also use reusable micro-fibre cloths and mops made from recyclable materials that are laundered on site, as well as recycled paper products and re-fillable soap dispensers.
  • Water usage: To ensure minimum water usage, they use sensor taps in all wash hand basins and sensor flushes in all urinals. The also installed a rainwater harvesting system which diverts rain water to storage tanks for use in systems which use non-potable water. Maximum of natural light is used in all foyer spaces and small meeting rooms and are equipped with motion sensors and energy-saving LED bulbs.
  • Lighting and Energy: They reduce overall energy consumption by using a sustainable energy supplier and integrating sustainable systems.
  • They offer advice and tips on how you can reduce the carbon footprint of your next event.
  • At the venue, SETAC Europe uses as much digital signage as possible.

As a participant, you can also contribute in making a difference! Here are some ideas:

  • Use public transport to come to the meeting and if this is not possible, try to reduce the number of flights and use public transport for your home – airport travel
  • Have a look at our carbon offset programme
  • Find a sustainable hotel in the area through green-key.org
  • Bring your own bottle to refill with tap water
  • Use the waste bins in the correct way
  • Put your badge and lanyard in the special bins or drop it at the registration desk
  • Reuse the towel/soap in your hotel
  • Rethink before you order a printed abstract book or a USB stick (downloads are available)
  • Try the vegetarian menu at the banquet
  • ……… and so much more!

If you have any ideas on how we could improve our efforts in organising a more sustainable meeting in the future, please contact Barbara Koelman.

Carbon Offset

The Paris agreement aims to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.  It was calculated that the average amount of COa person should produce should not exceed 0.6 t CO2per year in order to halt climate change. The current amount produced by a citizen of the EU is 8.4 t/yr.

Traveling to the SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting in Dublin will leave a significant carbon footprint and poses the question of whether the long-term environmental benefits of the meeting justify the excessive CO2emission due to participants traveling from all over Europe and beyond. Previous research on the environmental impact of a SETAC Symposium* showed that approximately 91 % of the carbon footprint originates from transportations.

SETAC is convinced that science can play an important role in addressing the relevant issues, assessing the risks and providing solutions for sustainable management of environmental resources. Our statement Environmental Quality Through Science® reflects that vision. We also think that the personal communication between researchers, the exchange of results and ideas and collaborative projects are essential to further the science in the most efficient manner. For that reason, we organise scientific meetings to bring together scientists from across Europe and beyond. Nevertheless, the carbon footprint of these efforts should not be neglected and SETAC promotes the offset of this footprint by supporting projects to reduce carbon emissions. If you have not yet selected to offset your travel emissions when booking your ticket, we encourage you to visit one of the many websites that are available to do this (e.g. www.goldstandard.org an initiative of the  WWF and other international NGOs) and donate to certified projects to help to reduce CO2emissions.