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In concert with our Seventh Principle and with urging from the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth, the General Assembly (GA) Planning Committee has been working toward the environmental sustainability of our meeting—the “Greening” of GA. To that end, the Planning Committee has entered into consultation with MeetGreen, experts in environmental stewardship with extensive knowledge of environmentally responsible meeting practices. Together, we have worked to determine goals, objectives, and achievable environmental practices, and to monitor the implementation of those practices.

Our goal is to assist host destinations to improve their ability to stage sustainable events, leaving a lasting legacy for other event planners to benefit from. Every year, General Assembly has transformed each city it has been held in without exception.

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has:

  • Worked with over 55 hotel properties to advocate for environmental and accessibility improvements.

  • Established or expanded composting programs at seven convention centers.

  • Piloted or expanded recycling capabilities for six convention venues.

  • Improved local purchasing programs for caterers in five cities.

  • Exceeded goals for renewable energy purchases since 2010.

  • Offset 100% of carbon emissions for attendee air travel, freight travel and venue/hotel energy use.

General Assembly sustainability efforts have:

  • Diverted over 35,460 kg of waste from landfill.

  • Donated over 2,000 kg of materials to local communities.

  • Reduced waste sufficient to fill 2 garbage trucks.

  • Avoided carbon equivalent to keeping 2,061 cars off the road for a year.

  • Offset 9.79 metric tons of carbon emissions, equal to the greenhouse gas emissions from burning 22,769 barrels of oil. 

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Annual Greening Case Studies

The following documents are PDF files.

Associations and Recognition for Our Sustainability Efforts

Recently the UUA was noted as one of the top 5 organizations for green meetings by an organization of meeting professionals.

Jan Sneegas, Director of General Assembly for the UUA, has served the Convention Industry Council since 2007 as a Panel Member for determining the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards.

GA Director Jan Sneegas served on the Green Meeting Industry Council board of directors.

The IMEX Green Meetings Award recognizes environmental awareness amongst meeting organizers, highlighting the opportunities that now exist to stage business tourism events in 'green-minded' venues, whilst also planning an agenda in which sustainability issues have been taken fully into account. The 2008 Silver Green Meetings Award went to the UUA for the 2007 GA at the Oregon Convention Center.

The UUA and General Assembly received the For Planet and People Award, Religious Organization Category in 2012 for its commitment to sustainable practices and to the support of important external carbon reductions, from Carbonfund.org.

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For more information contact generalassembly@uua.org.

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