Measuring Progress in Greening the General Assembly

Graph representing GA's MeetGreen Calculator Score

The MeetGreen® Calculator measures whether specific practices related to air quality, waste management, water conservation, energy efficiency and environmental purchases were requested, available, and implemented as well as the final quantitative outcomes.

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

MeetGreen® Calculator

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. In 2015, GA received a 93/100 on the MG Calculator, the highest score ever recorded!

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.

Attendee Feedback

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 2015

We encourage you to read the General Assembly Sustainability Report (PDF) from 2015 compiled by MeetGreen to learn more about what has been accomplished and still needs to be improved in order to progress against the following five objectives:

Improve Overall Event Sustainability

  • 93% MeetGreen® Calculator score (7% increase over 2014)

  • 2,925 MT of carbon emissions offset representing 100% of venue and hotel electricity, freight, and attendee air travel

  • 90% compliance with APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standard, Level One (8% increase over 2014)

  • First party conformity assessment against ISO 20121: 2012 Event Sustainability Management Systems Standard

Reduce Energy, Water & Waste Footprint

  • 1% increase in per participant carbon emissions over 2014

  • 62% of waste diverted from landfill

  • 79% reduction in landfill waste over 2008 baseline

  • 50% decrease in total waste, including landfill, recycling, compost and donation, compared to 2008 baseline

Engage Participants in Sustainability

  • 437 hours donated to onsite sustainability efforts by UUA volunteers

  • 29 green team volunteers donating time toward onsite waste management

  • 12 green event resource kits provided to congregations for use in their communities

  • 90.1% of attendees rating sustainability as good to excellent

  • Zero non-conformities noted with sustainable exhibitor guidelines