National Trauma Society goes green for the fifth year in a row

Each year in October, around 600 trauma and emergency surgeons from Austria and surrounding areas traditionally meet at the Wyndham Grand Hotel Salzburg for their annual congress. This is not the only tradition the Austrian Trauma Society maintains. As one of the first medical associations in Austria, the society has had its annual meeting certified as a Green Meeting every year since 2012.


Strict regulations

The society takes great pains to do so: In order to obtain the Austrian Ecolabel for Green Meetings, events have to conform to very strict regulations laid down in a body of guidelines. Some items are compulsory, like having a certain waste management system in place, paper quality for printed matters or special regulations for booth construction and catering, for which all foodstuffs need to be obtained from strictly regional sources. In addition, an event can obtain bonus points for fulfilling additional non-compulsory criteria. For example, programme books are no longer land-mailed in advance and excessive decoration on site is avoided. Both before and during the event, PCO Mondial Congress & Events checks which criteria are being met. If it can be proven that a sufficient number of points has been collected after the conclusion of the event, the congress can then be certified as a Green Meeting.

 

Certified venue

Choosing a venue that is also a licensee of the Austrian Eco Label makes things a lot easier from the get-go. Not only did the Wyndham Grand Hotel cooperate in terms of facilities and culinary requirements, it is also only a three minute walk from the nearest railway station. This means that another compulsory box can be ticked: Arriving via public transport rather than taking the car.

 

Getting industry partners on board

Getting the organizer and the venue on your side is half the battle. However, many medical congresses also have industry exhibitions and industry partners who also need to cooperate to make a Green Meeting succeed. Before the event, a special exhibitor agreement needs to be concluded with each company, stating that the exhibitor agrees not to distribute plastic giveaways or disposable plates. Convincing everyone involved of the event’s cause requires a great deal of diplomatic sensitivity.

 

Mindful participants

Finally, it is of course also up to the participants to make a Green Meeting possible. They can contribute by traveling by train or using the recycling containers provided on site to separate their waste. It is compulsory for the organizer to inform participants of the plans to organize a Green Meeting way in advance. During the congress, participants can be reminded on break slides that the event is striving to be eco-friendly.

 

Is it worth it?

Despite the many extra tasks facing a congress organiser, it can be said that organising a Green Meeting is well worth it. It sets an important sign for the future for an event to handle natural resources responsibly. Financially, there is hardly any difference compared to traditional events and participants tend to be undisturbed by the efforts. In fact, many delegates welcome them. Green events are officially certified with the Austrian Ecolabel, which societies can use as a seal of quality to be perceived as professional and responsible organisers.