A call to embrace ‘greener’ medical and healthcare conferences and events.
While commemorating World Environment Day on 05 June, the responsibility to our planet should encourage everyone to commit to this priority. EOA's Director, Yoshni Singh shares why it is imperative to do so, particularly within the conferencing and hospitality industry.
13 May 2019 – According to the World Health Organisation, “an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths globally are linked to ambient air pollution, mainly from heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections in children.”[i]
This is a staggering statistic which makes me wonder what carbon footprint we are leaving on the environment through the conferences that we organise and support? MeetGreen, an organisation that promotes sustainable event practices, reported that “a typical conference attendee produces 1.89KG of waste per day, and 1.16KG of that will go directly to a landfill. When you project that number for 1000 attendees over 3 days you get 5670KG of waste, the equivalent of 4 compact cars.”[ii] Which leads me to my next question which is how we can help to promote sustainable practices and alleviate the current environmental strain on the planet?
We should aim to balance the objectives of a successful conference, in which we strive for the benefits of shared learnings, against the interests of our environment and the communities in which we operate. In order to help maintain the environmental and socio-economic balance, we need to consciously create ‘green’ or sustainable conferences and procure environmentally-friendly products and services.
So how does one go green? To go green, as responsible conference organisers, we are expected to develop and communicate the policy and guide implementation for the respective conferences we manage. Key trends include the move to reusable conference stands; a reduction in the use of printed materials and a greater dependence on digital communications; a move away from bottled water and the use of biodegradable straws and the provision of recycling bins across the venue, while more efficient travel and hospitality arrangements should be made with sustainability objectives in mind. Remember, less is more!
We call on all stakeholders to join Europa Organisation Africa on Wednesday 05 June 2019, together with governments, industry, communities and individuals worldwide, as we commemorate the annual World Environment Day under the theme: “Air Pollution - We can’t stop breathing, but we can do something about the quality of air that we breathe”.
[i] World Health Organisation: [cited 2019 May 06] Available from https://www.who.int/airpollution/ambient/health-impacts/en/
[ii] MeetGreen: ‘Why become sustainable.’ [cited 2019 May 13] Available from