Consider the detritus a typical business conference generates: thousands of coffee cups, plastic name tags, and stapled handouts—not to mention all those logoed nylon tote bags. It's not exactly eco-friendly. So when 300 European and Latin American business thinkers converged on Oviedo, Spain, in June for the European-Ibero American Congress on Corporate Responsibility, they were intent on doing better.
Organizers calculated the CO2 generated by participants' plane flights; they estimated how much water was left in glasses and how many towels were sent to the hotel laundry. They say they were able to recycle 300 kilos of waste. Plus, attendees used 12,650 fewer liters of water than budgeted and avoided the emission of 100 kilos of carbon dioxide by riding in biocombustible-fuel buses. Sponsors donated the estimated savings to reforestation efforts in Costa Rica—enough for approximately 3,100 trees.
A version of this article appeared in the October 2006 issue of Fast Company magazine.