Staying in Brussels? It’s not only a beautiful city, but also a centre for sustainable hotels. No less than seven hotels within a 30 minute walking range, are Green Key holders or they are awarded with the Brussels Label for Ecodynamic Companies. Most of those hotels lie within a 15 minute range from the Brussels Nord train station, where you can find shuttle busses to the event location.
The Future Forward Summit takes place in the Herman Teirlinck building. This building, in use by the Government of Flanders since 2017, is the biggest passive office building in Belgium. This is realized by a combination of amongst others a good insulation, optimal use of natural light, 1.195 solar panels (±2.000m² or 285MWh/year) and passive geothermic heating and cooling systems.
Of course, the Government of Flanders didn’t only think of energy use when constructing a sustainable building. Rainwater is used for toilets and adiabatic cooling and sustainable materials were used for construction and decorating (FSC certified wood, C2C certified carpet, refurbished and reused furniture …).
It’s also important to facilitate sustainable behaviour. In the building, you’ll find waste islands where you can separate your waste in paper, paper cups, plastic metal and drinking cartons, food waste and other waste. The building and surroundings also host a bicycle parking place, lockers for folding bikes, showers, charging points for electrical bikes and a ‘fietsherstelzuil’ where you’ll find the most common tools to repair your bike.
For the daily catering in the Herman Teirlinck building, different sustainability aspects are always considered. For this event, we tried to go even further. This is also the case for the cooperation with external caterers.
We considered the following sustainability aspects as much as possible:
little food waste
entirely vegetarian meals
mostly bio labeled and/or fair trade, locally produced and/or seasonal ingredients
little disposable packaging
Both for the conference dinner as the escape tours on Friday, we’ve chosen locations in the heart of Brussels, easily reachable on foot. Join us on a walk through this beautiful historic city and avoid CO2 emissions at the same time!
For our own transport, we’ll walk or bike as much as possible. However, the use of a car is necessary to transport materials and help less mobile visitors reaching the conference dinner or escape tours. We will do all transport with an electrical vehicle.
We try to communicate digitally as much as possible, minimizing paper use. However, this isn’t always the most efficient way of communicating. For workshops and communications on the event, paper or cardboard are necessary. For the paper we use, from note pads to toilet paper, we’ve chosen 100% recycled paper with an environmental label. For printing, we’ve selected printing services that delivered us carbon neutral certified printing services on recycled paper.
Offsetting carbon emissions
We hope you’ll help us to organize an event with low carbon emissions. We’ll offset the remaining emissions through the climate project ‘Saving Trees’ in Uganda. The project facilitates the widespread access to improved cookstove technologies throughout Uganda by supporting local cookstove manufacturers with technical assistance as well as marketing and distribution; activities that ultimately make the improved cookstoves more accessible and affordable for the local population. By using the improved cookstoves, this project seeks to help saving trees, reduce forest degradation and ensure better living conditions for the local population by reducing harmful airborn pollutants in their household.
Each stove helps reduce wood and charcoal consumption by up to 50% compared to other cooking methods and saves over €80 per year per family. Each cookstove avoids over 2 tons of CO2 per year on average; the equivalent of a return journey for one person from Brussels to Washington D.C.
WHAT HAVE WE DONE?
In order to keep the CO2 emissions of the Future Forward Summit as low as possible, we made conscious choices in terms of location, catering, mobility and use of materials. An overview and description of our efforts can be found here (unfortunately only in Dutch). Through this overview of efforts but also learning points, we hope to inspire you for your next events.