Conference Sustainability

Each year, SPLC seeks to drive social, environmental and economic sustainability through the organization of each Summit. A comprehensive set of Event Venue Requirements & Preferences, Food & Beverage Requirements & Preferences has been developed to aid this. Through these and other measures, SPLC models the practices discussed in our conference sessions, to reduce the impact of this event, and illustrate ways other events can similarly reduce their impacts.

Additionally, for 2017, MeetGreen® was hired to manage conference logistics and provide leadership and expertise in sustainability as it relates to meeting management. MeetGreen® is independently certified compliant with the ISO 20121: Event Sustainability Management System Standard. All aspects of their work for SPLC comply with ISO 20121 approaches.

The Conference was also audited with regards to waste. GreenCircle Certified, LLC, carried out this audit, and SPLC are very excited to announce that the 2017 Summit was awarded with a 96% Waste Diversion from Landfill Certification. The 96% diversion rate from landfills and incineration during our time at the venue constitutes the greatest of our Summits yet, exceeding the 2015 Summit diversion rate of 95%. During the Summit, SPLC diverted more than 1200 pounds of waste from local area landfills. This was accomplished through the management of baled cardboard, single stream recyclables, food waste and break room waste including plastic products. GreenCircle conducted a material flow and mass flow analysis of all materials leaving the Summit event, both internally and externally, from May 8 – May 10, 2017.

Following are some of the measures implemented at the 2017 Conference.

Destination Selection

  • Environmental aspects of the destination (Denver, CO) were considered when selecting the host city. Examples include venues and suppliers with environmental practices, availability of waste reduction and recycling, local transit, and energy and water conservation programs adopted by the host city, venues and suppliers.

Meeting Facility Selection

  • A clause is included in the facility contract requiring the meeting venue to comply with the agreed upon sustainability practices.
  • The facility has a written sustainability policy and trains staff to implement.
  • The conference venue was chosen so that no ground transportation is required for attendees to get to the sessions.
  • The venue has provided a contact responsible for assisting SPLC in increasing the sustainability of its event.
  • The facility and caterer has attested that all workers involved in catering SPLC’s event will be paid above the “1 Adult” hourly living wage estimated by MIT’s Living Wage Calculator for Denver, Colorado.
  • The facility annually measures and tracks their carbon emissions associated with operations (for example, fuel used for onsite energy generation, in forklifts, landscaping vehicles etc.) in addition to total energy use, using available online tools or through professional assessment.


  • SPLC uses paper that is made with 100 percent recycled fiber and 50 percent post-consumer waste, processed chlorine free, for printed Conference materials.
  • SPLC uses low-VOC vegetable-based inks for printed Conference materials.
  • All pre conference communications are conducted electronically.
  • Conference signage is reused year over year whenever possible.
  • Program books are provided in digital format via the conference app.


  • Through our Clean Energy Sponsorship Apex Clean Energy, has committed RECs (renewable energy certificates) that enable the summit to be powered by 100% clean energy. The Balko Wind Farm in Oklahoma helps offset the impact of carbon-emitting power plants, which currently generate more than 70% of that state’s electricity. Apex will retire RECs to provide renewable energy used by the meeting, venue, and hotel, and to offset the carbon footprint of attendee travel and waste.


  • Offset of 100 percent of the carbon emissions generated by travel and facility usage during the Conference.
  • Attendees are encouraged to choose ground transportation options that minimize their carbon footprint such as mass transit, rail service, car sharing or shuttle service.
  • When transportation is needed, vendors are requested to complete a sustainability survey.

Guest Accommodation

  • Housekeeping will leave old containers of partially used toiletries instead of replacing. 
  • Hotel staff is instructed to turn down the heat/air-conditioning, shut drapes, and turn off the lights when rooms are vacant.
  • A towel and sheet reuse program is in place for all sleeping rooms.
  • Green certified products are used in guest sleeping rooms and public areas of the facility.

Food & Beverage

  • Recycle and/or a compost program for throw-away food waste.
  • Use china / glassware on all banquet / catering functions.
  • Cloth napkins are used in all banquet functions.
  • No polystyrene products are used for banquet/ catering functions.
  • No bottles water is provided. Water stations are bulk dispensing only.
  • Condiments served in bulk containers, except artificial sweeteners, in banquet functions.
  • Eliminate the use of disposable service-ware.
  • Menus will be chosen with local, organic and sustainable products when possible, and vegetarian meals will be served.
  • Any seafood ingredients comply with Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and/or Marine Stewards Certified.
  • Food on buffets and in menus will be labeled for those with food allergies.
  • The supplier shall report the % of total foods that are organic or local (within 250 miles).
  • Only 100% certified Fair Trade coffee and tea will be served.

Waste Management

  • Recycling bins for glass, plastic, metal and paper available on all meeting floors.
  • Recycling bins for glass, plastic, metal and paper available on all lodging floors.
  • The facility has a surplus/ donation program that repurposes materials.
  • The facility has compost collection receptacles and procedures that divert recoverable materials from the landfill.
  • Leftover and unused exhibitor amenities (such as tote bags, product samples, etc.) are donated to a nonprofit organization.
  • To avoid paper waste, exhibitors are requested to print handouts on 100 percent post-consumer paper with vegetable-based ink and bring a minimum amount to distribute.

Meeting Management

  • All communications with speakers, sponsors and hotel are electronic.
  • Conference registration is entirely online and confirmations are electronic.
  • Conference office equipment is all EnergyStar rated.

Summit Partners

ACLCA American Sustainable Business Council American Meetings Inc. Art of Procurement BSR Climate Registry GreenBiz Green-e Green Journal Iseal Alliance MCSP NASPO NGLCC NIGP ProcureCon Indirect East RPN TCO Development SkyTop Strategies The Sustainability Consortium USGBC UNEP 10YFP