Con­scious Con­fer­enc­ing

Tourism Tattler - - EDITORIAL -

Spier Wine Farm (out­side Stel­len­bosch) has im­ple­mented nu­mer­ous ini­tia­tives to re­duce the car­bon foot­print of their con­fer­enc­ing fa­cil­i­ties, from care­ful re­cy­cling and con­sis­tently making sure the area is waste-free, to wa­ter con­ser­va­tion tech­nol­ogy and train­ing staff in the ways of be­ing eco-friendly.

There's a surge in in­ter­na­tional trav­ellers looking for sus­tain­able ho­tels, con­fer­ence cen­tres, tour ex­pe­ri­ences and wedding op­tions, track­ing down ac­com­mo­da­tion that has the high­est green cre­den­tials.

Busi­ness trav­ellers are also in­creas­ingly mind­ful of the im­pact their travel has on our en­vi­ron­ment. With a strong sense of con­tribut­ing to sav­ing the planet, they are call­ing for con­fer­ence or­gan­is­ers to up their game.

Re­al­is­ing that con­fer­ence or­gan­is­ers need to quickly lo­cate fa­cil­i­ties for green meet­ings, Spier has im­ple­mented a num­ber of ini­tia­tives to re­duce its car­bon foot­print; from care­ful re­cy­cling and con­sis­tently making sure the area is waste-free, to wa­ter con­ser­va­tion tech­nol­ogy and train­ing staff in the ways of be­ing eco-friendly. Here are a few eco-friendly tips from Spier's con­fer­enc­ing team:

Adding Mean­ing to Con­fer­ence Book­ings

Spier has part­nered with Pack for Pur­pose, an in­ter­na­tional project that im­pacts communities around the world by as­sist­ing trav­ellers who want to bring mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tions to des­ti­na­tions.

Spier has se­lected three projects (an old age home, a com­mu­nity li­brary and pri­mary school) where guests can do­nate much-needed items.

En­vi­ron­men­tal Com­mit­ment

Spier is com­mit­ted to re­duc­ing its en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print. Over the past decade, mu­nic­i­pal wa­ter us­age has been re­duced by 50% and en­ergy by 30%.

There are over 400 wa­ter-sav­ing de­vices on show­ers, basins and toi­lets at Spier. Nat­u­ral light and ven­ti­la­tion and en­ergy-ef­fi­cient light­ing is used where pos­si­ble. 100% of or­ganic waste and waste­water as well as more than 98% of solid waste are re­cy­cled.

A rig­or­ous monitoring and mea­sure­ment sys­tem means that con­fer­ence or­gan­is­ers can mea­sure the foot­print of each del­e­gate. Con­fer­ence packs are great op­por­tu­ni­ties to com­mu­ni­cate the sus­tain­abil­ity story to del­e­gates. One could in­clude a so­lar lamp

or indige­nous plant as a gift (these can be ob­tained from the Treep­reneurs nurs­ery which of­fers plants nur­tured by its net­work of grow­ers).

On the ta­ble, Spier places pens and note­books of 100% re­cy­cled pa­per for del­e­gate's use. Left­over sta­tionery can be do­nated to school­child­ren from sur­round­ing communities. In­stead of plas­tic bot­tled wa­ter, Spier of­fers fil­tered bot­tled wa­ter which is served in re­us­able glass bot­tles.

At Break­time

Dur­ing break times, snacks are se­lected that are healthy both for the planet and body. Spier of­fers a va­ri­ety of teas and or­ganic rooi­bos as well as fil­ter coffee from Avanti, a roast­ery that sup­ports sus­tain­able coffee farm­ing and fair trade prac­tices. In ad­di­tion to healthy lo­cally sourced nuts and dried fruit snacks, Spier also of­fers freshly baked bis­cuits from the Khayelit­sha Cookie Com­pany – a so­cial up­lift­ment project which hires pre­vi­ously un­em­ployed women from that pro­vid­ing skills, train­ing and per­ma­nent em­ploy­ment.

Cui­sine Choices

Spier of­fers sus­tain­able con­fer­ence food that is made with sea­sonal lo­cally sourced and eth­i­cally reared in­gre­di­ents. Cui­sine dishes are made with in­gre­di­ents that are sourced from the farm, or nearby trusted sup­pli­ers who share Spier's sus­tain­able ethos. Fresh pro­duce in Spier's food gar­dens is grown with­out the use of pes­ti­cides and ar­ti­fi­cial fer­tilis­ers. Eggs are laid by hens that roam freely in Spier's pas­tures. To pre­vent over­fish­ing, Spier only serve fish that are listed “green” by the South African Sus­tain­able Seafood Ini­tia­tive.

In­spir­ing Ex­cur­sions

Spier of­fers ex­cur­sions that can in­spire del­e­gates to make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence. A num­ber of ac­tiv­i­ties are of­fered that show­case its sus­tain­abil­ity ef­forts – del­e­gates can visit the en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly waste­water treat­ment plant, or take a tour of the Tree-preneurs nurs­ery. They can also col­lect eggs from the free-roam­ing chick­ens and also learn about or­ganic gar­den­ing in the food gar­den.

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