Measuring Progress in Greening the General Assembly
General Assembly (GA) planners measure event sustainability in multiple ways. We have a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that are tracked from event to event. This includes three groups of measures:
- Footprint measures for carbon, energy, water and waste
- The extent to which the event complied with criteria the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has for sustainable purchasing
- Any reduction benefits associated with procurement
This score-based tool rates sustainability for a specific event using a 100 point scale. It awards credit to the planner for making requests, successfully implementing best practices and measuring performance.
Event Sustainability Standards
Adopted in 2012, the APEX ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standard is a technical standard that provides criteria an event must meet in order to be considered “environmentally sustainable”. The Standard has four Levels with more than 400 requirements in order to meet Level One. The ISO 20121: 2012 Standard is an international system standard that promotes integration of environmentally and socially responsible considerations into event management. It was launched in June 2012 to coincide with the London 2012 Olympic Games. The UUA gauges performance against both of these standards.
The UUA invites feedback from attendees in multiple ways. Qualitative comments are provided onsite and recorded in a journal in the exhibit hall. In addition a post-event online evaluation is sent to all attendees. Event participants are invited to provide comments on all event practices, in addition to sustainability.
What We Did in 2014
We encourage you to read the General Assembly Sustainability Report (PDF) from compiled by MeetGreen to learn more details about what has been accomplished and still needs to be improved in order to progress against the following five objectives:
Improve Overall Event Sustainability
- 86% MeetGreen® Calculator score (2% increase over 2013)
- 62 metric tons of carbon emissions avoided through remote participation options (5.5 metric ton decrease from 2013, almost double compared to 2012)
- 82% compliance with APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standard, Level One (1% increase over 2013)
- First party conformity assessment against ISO 20121: 2012 Event Sustainability Management Systems Standard
Reduce Energy, Water & Waste Footprint
- 26% increase in per participant carbon emissions over 2013
- 66% of waste diverted from landfill (15% reduction over 2013)
- 11% reduction in per participant energy use over 2013
- 31% decrease in per participant waste, including landfill, recycling, compost and donation, compared to 2013
Measure Benefits of More Sustainable Purchases
- 7 vendors educated and engaged in improving sustainable event practices in 2014
- $500,485 raised for 11 social and environmental justice groups throughout the USA since 2005.
- 51% of event carbon emissions voluntarily offset by participants, amounting to 1,281 metric tons
- 157,280 individual water bottles avoided by providing water refill stations and fountains since 2005
Engage Participants in Sustainability
- 502 hours donated to onsite sustainability efforts by UUA volunteers
- 23 green team volunteers donating time toward onsite waste management
- 26 green event resource kits provided to congregations for use in their communities
- 77% of attendees rating sustainability as good to excellent
- Zero non-conformities noted with sustainable exhibitor guidelines