Social & Environmental Responsibility

EURO 2018 is a socially and environmentally responsible conference

Have you ever wondered about the social and environmental impact of a large conference?

EURO 2018 is going to host more than 2500 people. This means thousands of bags, abstracts books, lanyards, notebooks, pens and other conference materials. On top of that, we have thousands of lunch servings for three days and even a larger number of coffee breaks servings.

The Organization Committee has been working hard in order to minimize the social and environmental impact of such a large conference. See all the initiatives below.

Conference bags are manufactured locally by a association of socially vulnerable women with leftover and recycled fabrics

Fabrics and thread made in the Valencian Community and a team of women in the Mil.una Sagunt project’s sewing workshop: this is the formula being used for making the 2500 bags to be handed out to those taking part in the Euro conference, with the help of the Mil.una social support project in Sagunto.
The Euro conference, jointly organised by the University of Valencia and the Polytechnic University of Valencia with ADEIT, will be collaborating with this project, promoted by the Secular Institute Obreras de la Cruz (Women Workers of the Cross), whose main purpose is providing support for socially vulnerable women and families and fostering their social and employment integration, a field in which it has been working for nearly 20 years.
“Women with difficulties in gaining access to the job market will make the bags to be given to those taking part in the Euro conference, with the help of the Mil.una project in Sagunto”
Specifically, as members of the Mil.una project explain, this initiative involves the participation of women with difficulties in gaining access to the job market, who will have the job of preparing the 2500 bags for the conference participants in the next two months. The Mil.una team points out that it is an opportunity to practice educational and employment skills:

“Through workshops and training activities we are aiming to improve the quality of life of the women involved and their families, make them more employable, motivate them to pursue proper training and develop their skills as educators and mothers.”

The delegate bags will not be manufactured thousands of kilometers away with plastic fabrics but rather locally, with recycled fabrics kindly donated by local textile manufactures and hand-made by the members of the Mil.una project.

We have already received samples and they are gorgeous! Note that the bags will not be uniform as each one uses a potentially different recycled fabric, maybe a different color, etc.


Conference materials handled and bagged by CEDAT foundation

For the preparation of the 2500 bags and inclusion of all materials, EURO 2018 has hired CEDAT foundation. CEDAT promotes the labor inclusion and employability of people with disabilities. CEDAT personnel already handle the internal mailing system of the UPV and carry out other valuable work within the Campus. We are so proud of having their collaboration!

Safe leftover food donated and transported to charity

The EURO 2018 Organization Committee issued a very demanding call for tenders for all the catering activities in the conference, most notably the coffee breaks and lunches.

The winning bid and awarded company is Grupo Serhs. One of the things we asked companies is to make sure that all safe food not consumed must be donated to charity. Grupo Serhs has put forward a system by which food will be sent to Casa Caridad Valencia, a non-profit organization that works towards the integration of homeless citizens and persons at risk of social exclusion. Casa Caridad Valencia operates a network of community kitchens and pantries.

No conference book with abstracts

The complete program book EURO 2018 with abstracts (available here) is about 560 A4 pages. The version with just the tiles of the talks and authors and without abstracts (available here) is shorter but still rather bulky at more than 150 A4 pages.

Have you ever wondered about the environmental cost of printing a book?

At least we have to produce the paper, the ink and the printing apparatuses to print the books, including all necessary raw materials and transportation. In order to keep this explanation short, let us just focus on the paper needed.

For the program book with abstracts, printed at both sides we would need 560/2=280 sheets of A4 paper. There are 2500 participants at the EURO 2018 so we would need 280*2500=700,000 sheets of A4 paper. Is this a lot?

Well, according to many sources, for example, this one, a medium sized tree is needed to generate about 8,200 sheets of A4 paper. This means that we would need 700,000/8200=85.37 trees just for the sheets in which to print the EURO 2018 full abstracts book.

We are just factoring in the trees needed, not the thousands of liters of water needed to produce the paper from the trees, or the pollution generated by the transportation of the trees to the sawmills or the sheets to our offices.

This is a lot of natural resources used.

Do we really need the conference books? Are you willing to lug such a large book during the conference? The reality is that most of us do not even use the book of abstracts that much. We leave it at the hotel and carry it back home in our luggage to place it later in our offices… to gather dust for the years to come.

Electronic PDF books are much more convenient. You can quickly search for authors, titles, you can open it from your filesystem, you can easily copy it and distribute it, you can store it in your phone or tablet, etc.

As a result, the Organization Committee of EURO 2018 decided not to print the abstracts book, not the complete one and not even the shortened program book without the abstracts. We are printing the smallest possible A5 booklet with the practical information. The full program is available online here. The main source of program information is the conference App, which contains all the information of the complete abstracts book in a convenient and easy to use mobile application. Head here for more details.

Note that for similar reasons, you won’t find a USB drive in your conference bags. USB drives generate lots of electronic waste and their usefulness is debatable at best. They just contain the PDF version of the conference program, which is readily available online. These drives need to be connected to a computer and after all, if you have a computer, then you can simply download the online program. 2500 USB drives is a lot of electronic garbage.

Recycling and more recycling

Recycling going on during the conference:

  • We will put boxes where you will be able to place the used public transportation cards, for recycling. Transportations cards contain a microchip and plastic and can be recycled and/or donated to people without resources.
  • There will be also boxes where we will collect the lanyards and the plastic covers of the badges. All this can be recycled and/or donated to NGOs and non-profit organizations for other uses.
  • In your bag, you will find a pen made of recycled cardboard and a notebook made of 100% recycled paper.
  • You will be able to separate the waste generated by the picnic bags during lunch at several containers placed around the campus.

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