Greening the Conference

Carbon offsets

Above and beyond the efforts taken by ACUI on a regular basis in both the daily operation and the programmatic aspects of the association's activities, we've been challenged to take it to the next level. This year conference attendees can opt to have $6.10 added to their conference registration to offset the event’s entire carbon footprint. By offsetting the total carbon footprint of 518.7 metric tons, delegates will have an impact as big as:

  • Taking 99 passenger vehicles off the road for a year 
  • Turning off the electricity at 63 American homes 
  • Planting 13,300 tree seedlings and letting them grow for 10 years

More equivalencies can be found at this EPA site. Be sure to change the unit to “metric tons” as that’s what is quoted above and is standard in the industry.

Information about all of our partner's projects can be found online. The three areas that we are allowing our delegates to choose from allow us to harness our resources behind a few projects thereby narrowing the focus and allowing for a greater impact. A project is highlighted from each of the segments below.

Partners in sustainability

Each year ACUI strives to make the annual conference more sustainable than the year before. Similarly, Marriott International, Inc. has taken efforts since 2000 to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by nearly one-fifth over this 10-year period. Additionally, the company has instituted a linen reuse program and smoke-free policies in the United States and Canada, and sites like the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile strive to use eco-friendly décor made from renewable resources. For a full report from this property, click here. Read below about ACUI and Marriott’s other efforts for the 2011 conference.

  • All waste and recyclable materials can be deposited in the receptacles located around the conference floors of the Marriott.
  • All ACUI and Marriott meeting pads are recyclable and made with environmentally friendly combination of water based glue and a soy/vegetable ink mix.
  • Marriott uses water and juice coolers instead of bottled beverages and bulk condiments instead of individual packets.
  • White boards have been used in place of flipcharts when possible.
  • To minimize waste, ACUI has asked the Marriott to give straws, plastic drink stirrers, and cocktail napkins only upon specific request. Napkins used are made from recycled paper.
  • Conference audio-visual displays use LCD screens rather than CRT screens, which consume more energy.
  • Laptops are used when possible in the conference office (on average they use 10 percent less energy than desktop computers).
  • ACUI’s directional signage for the conference is reused from year to year with adhesive-backed labels replaced to designate the specific conference. The Chicago Marriott has digital signage in place to assist us in using fewer of these.
  • Online registration is required and delegates are asked for their meal choices in advance to provide accurate meal counts and minimize food waste. ACUI also offers vegetarian options, which help reduce the environmental impact on water, energy, and soil.
  • ACUI posts session hand-outs and presentation slides on its website after the conference to minimize the amount of paper used to distribute these materials on site.

From the chef

Extensive use of local sourcing (to a degree virtually unheard of in lodging properties of this size) allowing us to reduce fuel costs and emissions while supporting local growers and the communities surrounding them. These practices compounded with our rooftop herb and vegetable garden, roof top bee-hives, off property farm agreement, in-house brewing/fermentation, and avoidance of prepackaged, pre-prepared food (driving less post consumer packaging waste) create an ideal environment for businesses concerned about minimizing impact to the earth while enjoying a world class food and beverage experience.

What you can do  

  • Ask the housekeeping staff not to change your bed linens.
  • Hang towels and washcloths up to dry rather than asking for new ones each day.
  • Turn down your thermostat when you’re not going to be in your guest room.
  • Use the hotel’s electronic check-out feature to reduce paper waste.
  • If you brought your own toiletries, leave those that the hotel provides so another guest can use them.
  • If you’re leaving the hotel, car-pool with other delegates or use the subway.
  • When you check out, remember to leave your room passkey so it can be reused.
  • E-mail to tell us what ideas you have to make future ACUI gatherings “greener.”



Updated Oct. 5, 2010
Updated Oct. 5, 2010

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