Sustainability of the Sustainable Consumption Conference 2011

What we did and considered

Strategy and communication
Coherence between the topic of the conference and the consumption 'of the conference' and the consumption at the conference as an aim; Sustainability Commitment for the conference; communication of the sustainability commitment; communication of the measures taken; coherence of the whole event as much as possible, meaning that the social programme as well is informed by the issue of sustainability.

Reducing emmissions and garbage
We offset the CO2-emissions of the conference (taking into account all travels to and from the conference, commuting in Hamburg, accommodation, food; participants and suppliers have to provide the information needed for CO2-calculations) and support projects implementing renewable energies and energy efficiency in developing countries via the offset-partner atmosfair (certificate); no superfluous packaging; no one-way tableware; special paper recycling bins; staff instructed to turn out the light when it isn't needed; illumination with LED if possible.

Venue that can be reached by means of public transport; start of the conference set at a time allowing a good deal of people to come by train; information given on how to reach the venue focused on public transport; shuttle to the conference dinner fulfil strong standards of low emission.

Recommendation of hotels in short distance (venue is reachable by foot); recommendation of hotels with special social commitment; recommendation of hotels with special ecological commitment.

Use of paper and print
No promotional flyers or documents not directly linked to the conference in the conference folder; no printed abstract volume by default; offset the CO2-emissions caused by the print of the programme and the abstract volume (by supporting a project via the organisation ClimatePartner; electronic communications related to the conference; use of recycling-paper, FSC-paper or bamboo-paper; cooperation with a local print shop especially committed to ecologically responsible printing (LangeBartels, Hamburg); left over material will be sent back.

Strenghten the local economy and small firms

Products and services mostly from local trade; no bargaining; adequate payment for students (of regional universities) working as conference staff; support of small firms committed to high quality work (Atelier Mühlberg).

Only Fair Trade or regional flowers; rented potted plants instead of cut flowers as default; rented decoration from local companies; as far as possible, packaging, production and materials of decorative elements are fair trade and ecologically sound.

Conference folder, lanyards and name tags
No give-away articles in the conference folder; no pens and writing pads in the conference folder; a neutral conference folder that can be reused outside the context of the conference; name tags made of paper; lanyards made of bamboo.

As far as possible organic or fair trade products, MSC-fish, regional products; vegetarian conference dinner with the possibility to choose fish or meat; one exclusively vegetarian lunch; information on the different components of the conference dinner; no pork or beef with respect to possible religious imperatives; offering tap water instead of bottled plain water.

Gender mainstreaming
Both men and women in all boards and teams related to the conference; no discrimination through language (counts especially for the German language).

Allowing participation at the conference
Travel grants for people (especially young researchers) with low budget (18 grants); child care.

Instigate processes of learning and reflecting
Invite participants of the conference to reflect about the sustainability measures taken; discussions about sustainability with the caterers, with those delivering flowers and with those selling us whatever we needed for the conference; discussions about sustainability with those responsible of the venue; participants were forced to take decisions regarding what they eat (31% vegetarian, 42% fish, 27% meat), where they want to sleep, if they wish a printed abstract volume (45% no, 55% yes) etc.; installations and performances fostering a multi-sensual approach to sustainable consumption.

Quality of life and work-life-balance
Time and spaces to relax during the conference; extra networking space; making space for art; high aesthetic quality of decoration, food and printed matter; celebrate joy of life; conference desk acting as help point.

 Our most precious sustainability story

 Instead of gifts to the keynote speakers we decided to present the world
 with trees in the name of  the conference. Since the conference participants
came from all over the world we planted trees all over the world (Hamburg,
 Kenya, Niger, Armenia, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brasil, Peru): one tree
 for each participant (
certificates). The nearest tree, that in Hamburg, can be
 found a few blocks from the Curio-Haus (
certificate). This tree was a gift of
 the conference to the green capital Hamburg. Chocolates for the conference
 participants symbolized the 'tree gift' and were a gift for all participants
 instead of a gift for only a few invited speakers. These chocolates met our
 criteria of sustainability. A local chocolatier, Daniel Biebl (Confiserie Paulsen,, Hamburg), had been asked  to produce and deliver them.
 Confronted with this challenge, he began to gather organic and fair trade
 ingredients with great dedication, although he had never before thought
 about doing so, and to  produce chocolates taking into account principles of
 sustainable development, although he could not label them as fair trade
 or organic or whatever. We hope you enjoyed the chocolates!

 © SuCo11, Hamburg (Photographer Christian Augustin).     

 Sustainability cont. - make new from old!

Do you remember the orange SuCo11-flags waving in the wind in front of the Curiohaus, the venue of the Sustainable Consumption Conference 2011?

The Sustainable Consumption Conference 2011 is over. Yet, we have made every effort to carry on with the sustainability thought in the following-up of the SuCo11.

Instead of storing the SuCo11-flags (as well as some other SuCo11 leftover products like lanyards) in a gloomy cellar archive, we have had our “old” conference products recycled and made into new fancy and handy post-conference products. The small yet innovative Sürprisen GmBh, a company which itself is committed to sustainabily, has produced the lovely goods in collaboration with the atelier Transitwerkstatt Wil.

Recycled SuCo11-Shopping bag

Recycled SuCo11 shoulder bag

SuCo11 shoulder bag

All recycled SuCo11-products (shopping bag, key fob, wallet, shoulder bag)

©  SOEF-Konsum-BF 2012   


Contact information

SÖF-Konsum-BF, Research Group Inter-/Transdisciplinarity

University of Basel
Program Man-Society-Environment (MGU)
Vesalgasse 1
CH-4051 Basel