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Measuring Progress in Greening the General Assembly

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.

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 2013

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

Improve Overall Event Sustainability

  • 84% MeetGreen® Calculator score (2% increase over 2012)
  • 67.5 metric tons of carbon emissions avoided through remote participation options (double compared to 2012)
  • 80% compliance with APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standard, Level One (1% drop over 2012, 25% improvement over 2011)
  • First party conformity assessment against ISO 20121: 2012 Event Sustainability Management Systems Standard

Reduce Energy, Water & Waste Footprint

  • 37% reduction in per participant carbon emissions over 2012
  • 78% of waste diverted from landfill, tripling historic diversion at the Kentucky International Convention Center (9% reduction over 2012)
  • 46% reduction in per participant landfill compared to nine-year event average
  • 11% increase in per participant waste, including landfill, recycling and compost, compared to nine-year event average

Measure Benefits of More Sustainable Purchases

  • 10 vendors educated and engaged in improving sustainable event practices in 2013
  • $2,700 in economic benefits to local producers from exhibit concessions
  • $80,000 cost avoided by selecting a destination with a walkable convention package
  • 54% of event carbon emissions voluntarily offset by participants, amounting to 753 metric tons
  • 157,500 individual water bottles avoided by providing water refill stations and fountains since 2005

Engage Participants in Sustainability

  • 388 hours donated to onsite sustainability efforts by UUA volunteers
  • 17 green team volunteers donating time toward onsite waste management
  • 27 green event resource kits provided to congregations for use in their communities
  • 93% of attendees rating sustainability as good to excellent
  • $110,000 raised for three legacy projects
  • Zero non-conformities noted with sustainable exhibitor guidelines

For more information contact

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Friday, October 18, 2013.

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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.
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