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Today’s blog post comes from our colleagues Gina Broel and Eden Mack who are on Microsoft’s events team and are responsible for facilitating some of the company’s largest events. Their mission? To ensure Microsoft event planners, vendors and local communities work hand-in-hand to integrate sustainability into events and communicate the value of this work back into Microsoft’s corporate environmental strategy. Enjoy!
How Microsoft Strives to Make Our Events More Sustainable - by Gina Broel and Eden Mack
Summer time for most people means sun, outdoor fun and vacations. But for the Microsoft Events Team, it also means the busiest time of the year. In June and July alone, the team typically reaches nearly 50,000 in-person attendees with its various conferences & events.
These events – some of which have up to 15,000 to 20,000 attendees – are not small productions, and neither is the effort to reduce the environmental impact. Beginning in 2008, the Microsoft Events Team set out to reduce the environmental impact and increase the social responsibility of its largest events through the Microsoft Sustainable Events Initiative (SEI). And the results have been impressive – for instance, just from 2010-2011 alone, the team increased recycling and diversion rates by 30% and reduced waste per person by 31%. In 2011, these events avoided nearly 30 tons (approximately 3 semi-trucks full) of waste. Of the waste that was generated, 66%—the equivalent of 262 tons—(approx. 26 trucks) was recycled, composted, or donated. These are just a few examples of how those results were achieved:
Managing events, and successfully increasing their sustainability, is truly the epitome of a team effort – there are multiple stakeholders in the mix, from internal staff to hundreds of vendors, suppliers, cities, venues, hotels and more. We make the effort because Microsoft’s commitment to sustainability is present across all the company’s operations, including our meetings and events. There is certainly more work to be done, but we continue to keep our collective environmental responsibility in mind and work with venues and vendors to choose event planning options that decrease our environmental impact.
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