Greening GEF Events

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October 2, 2018

Greening GEF Events

The GEF is committed to minimizing the environmental impact of its events.  These measures include:

  • Providing low carbon and locally sourced meals, served with reusable dishware;
  • Facilitating recycling and donation of food waste to nearby farms;
  • Providing water stations instead of distributing bottled water;
  • Minimizing printing and single use packaging;
  • Minimizing takeaway items ("gifts");
  • Encouraging travel emission offsets;
  • Sharing guidance on How to be a Responsible “Local” Tourist; and,
  • Calculating the events carbon footprint.

As a part of that commitment, the GEF has developed the following “greening guidelines” for event participants.

Travel to and from the event

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from air travel represent one of the greatest environmental impacts for conferences and events. The GEF Secretariat and many organizations already offset their travel emissions. For participants whose organization does not, please consider offsetting your emissions via the Offsets cost approximately $35/person.

Travel while at the event

Low carbon transport is an important means of reducing carbon emissions. Attendees are encouraged to use mass transit, bicycles, carpool, or walk wherever possible. 

Printed Documents

Minimal printing saves on energy use as well as natural resources. Consequently, the GEF Secretariat is committed to minimizing printed materials as much as possible and encourages participants to do the same.

Participants and organizations are asked to bring as few printed materials as possible. The GEF can facilitate access to electronic documents via the GEF Website and App.  Participating organizations that would like to share publications on any of those electronic platforms can contact the GEF secretariat at 

If printed material must be provided, the following criteria are suggested:

  • Use paper that is sustainably sourced, e.g. FSC-certified; or that has at least 30% post-consumer recycled content;
  • Ensure that all documents are printed using the duplex (double-sided) feature;
  • Encourage recycling of materials after use; and,
  • Refrain from using laminated, glossy and coated paper, as they are not typically recyclable.


Exhibitors have a large impact on the success of our greening efforts.  To comply with the printed document guidelines above, exhibitors are encouraged to leave no materials behind. In addition to the environmental incentive.

Gifts & Take-away Items

The GEF Secretariat plans to, and is asking its participants to consider, “experiential” activities rather than gifts that may end up as waste.

If giveaways must be provided:

  • Source from vendors that actively support sustainable practices and use products made from sustainable materials such as bamboo, organic cotton, and hemp. Where possible, purchase from local vendors and buy products manufactured locally;
  • Don’t order more products than necessary, and be prepared to take any leftover items home;
  • Provide items that are durable, reusable, and useful. Items that will help participants continue greening their own lifestyles beyond the event (e.g. reusable straws, water bottles or food containers) are encouraged. 
  • Consider sourcing creative items produced from salvaged and recycled materials.
  • Source items that have been produced with concern for equity, fair trade, and fair labor.
  • Minimize waste and packaging; and,
  • Avoid single-use plastics at all costs.

Food and Drink

Food and drink have a significant impact on the amount of carbon and waste of an event. For the meal service, which includes lunch and snacks, a low carbon diet and sustainably sourced meals will be provided. In an effort to reduce the use of plastic bottles, we will endeavor to provide water stations at the venue.

Thank you for helping to green our activities. These efforts will begin a path towards:

  • Establishing protocols and standards that will ensure minimal carbon and waste footprints at GEF events;
  • Promoting sustainable sourcing of food and other materials;
  • Increasing stakeholder education and engagement;
  • Positively impacting local communities;
  • Establishing a greening model that other organizations can adopt; and,
  • Establishing a performance tracking system for GEF greening efforts.