Circular Business Events Made Easy in Zurich

29th Feb, 2024

© Sorell Hotel Zürichberg | David Biedert

Waste and resource management is one of the big challenges facing every industry. Not least, the world of conventions plays its part by generating large amounts of waste.

For this reason, the team at the Zurich Convention Bureau made a more sustainable approach its priority and put together an easy-to-follow guide on how to tackle waste and resource management when planning business events.

Furthermore, thanks to their extensive network of service providers, experts, and vendors in the field of circular events, they are well-equipped to help organisers implement more sustainable practices.

Circular economy

When it comes to waste management, circular economy can essentially be broken down into the five ‘Rs’, according to Lara Gallmann, sustainability manager of Zürich Tourism.

Refuse – try to avoid materials that are not essential.
Reduce – try to consume as little as possible and lower everyday item use.
Reuse – whenever possible, borrow or lease products and equipment.
Repurpose – whenever possible, repair, repurpose or upcycle items.
Recycle/rot – dispose of unavoidable waste correctly, by prioritising recycling and composting.

Why implement circular economy strategies?

By prioritising circular economy, organisers not only play their part in reducing the environmental impacts, they also lower overall procurement and, potentially, waste-disposal costs. A circular approach also has a positive impact on how a convention is perceived and shows that event planning is a future-ready area of enterprise. Furthermore, organisers meet the increasing expectations of customers, governments, and investors. And they actively support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

© Bürkliplatz Music Pavilion | David Biedert

How to beat waste

Taking the first steps to lower overall environmental footprint doesn’t need to be complicated. The Zurich Convention Bureau has prepared some easy-to-implement approaches. These are just a few examples:

Eliminate unnecessary merchandising and consider quirky ways to get your message out. For example, rather than printing flyers and booklets, provide fruit with a QR code on it that links to your itinerary. Rethink giveaways by considering less materialistic souvenirs that last longer. You could put together a ‘virtual goody bag’ with vouchers or how about some locally produced, edible options? Opt for a greener gastronomy by working with venues and caterers that tackle food waste and follow the same principles regarding the five ‘Rs’. Consider decorating the venue with recycled or reused materials, rent additional equipment and provide ample recycling stations. Activities, too, can have less of an impact on the amount of waste generated as well as the venues and local service providers you choose.

A recipe for a successful convention

Last, but not least, here are the essential ingredients for a truly successful circular event:

Preparation is key to all successful events; every decision will have an impact on how many resources are used and how much waste is generated at a meeting.

Involving participants
Communicate zero-waste aspirations to participants before and during the event and motivate them to do their part.

Reporting and evaluation
Measure and evaluate quantitative data on waste and resource recovery. These insights will help show what worked, and what didn’t.

Meet the team of the Zurich Convention Bureau at IMEX Frankfurt 2024 to discuss your approach to convention organisation. They are more than happy to share their knowledge and to connect you with their extensive network of experts, venue partners and service providers.

Get in touch with Vanessa Reis, Head of Zurich Convention Bureau

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Supported by the Union of International Associations (UIA), the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) and the Interel Group, the global public affairs and association management consultancy, Headquarters Magazines serve the needs of international associations organising worldwide congresses.