Before WPC 2013 in Houston last summer, we shared with you the ways in which Microsoft strives to make events more sustainable as part of the company’s goal to reduce its environmental impact and exemplify responsible environmental leadership. The success of sustainability efforts at events hinges on the ability of the event planning team to reduce the amount of waste brought on site as well as the recycling opportunities of the venue and the city in which the event is held. With a new city comes new opportunities to continue to strive for greater reductions in overall waste and even better rates of recycling and composting.
The last time that WPC was held in Washington, D.C., the event recycled and composted 45 tons of material and had a 47% recycling rate. When WPC was in Toronto in 2012, the event recycled, composted and donated 82 tons, which was about 72% of the total waste generated. In 2013 in Houston, the event still managed to recycle, compost and donate 43 tons of waste, though unfortunately there was more waste created in total and the recycling rate dropped to 35%. When WPC returns to the United States capital this year, the venue and vendors are all taking steps to improve the processes, and have high hopes given Washington, D.C.’s shared commitment to sustainability.
That commitment is exemplified in the Sustainable DC plan, which seeks to make the city the “healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the United States” by reducing emissions, making the city more bike and pedestrian friendly, and improving resource use, among many other endeavors. It is also portrayed by the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (WEWCC), the venue at which WPC 2014 will take place, whose Green Initiatives brochure outlines the ways in which the structure was built to be more efficient and the center’s ongoing efforts to improve its services in environmentally responsible manners.
Since some of you are concerned about the environmental impact of a long flight, we would also like to provide you with the wherewithal that you need to make environmentally informed decisions when in Washington, D.C. There are several options for green transit while in the city, the first of which is the excellent and affordable metro system that D.C. offers, making it easy to get around town without driving and for those of you planning to move about with larger groups. If you want other options, Destination DC has a Guide to Being Green in D.C. and there are resources there for partners interested in more environmentally friendly dining, lodging, and meetings.
As always, partners’ individual actions play a big role in the success of our efforts as well. Since the WEWCC provides three options for disposing your waste (garbage, recycling and compost), please remember to check which items go where when throwing something away. When possible, take the metro or share a cab to help reduce emissions from transportation.
There are also plenty of opportunities for partners to focus on the ways in which technology can assist with environmental stewardship. At the intersection of Big Data and sustainability, Iconics, Inc., the winner of the 2012 Sustainability Partner of the Year Award, developed its suite of products known as AnalytiX to analyze the vast amounts of data on energy consumption that businesses generate and then provide actionable intelligence to reduce wasteful usage—all while driving down costs to save those companies money. In the public sector, Microsoft’s CityNext program strives to illuminate potential places in which cities around the world can do more with less. By becoming “smarter” with the right technology, cities can become more resource efficient and grow sustainably. These are just several of the many examples in which technology intertwines with the goal of living more lightly on the planet, and Microsoft partners are in a prime position to step up as environmental leaders.
This summer, join us at WPC 2014 in Washington, D.C. from July 13-17 to learn more, network more, and grow more. If you register today, you can still take advantage of the WPC spring sale of $100 off your all-access pass!