In 2008 HICK Tech sponsored its second one-day technology conference in Owen Sound, Canada. It featured 22 sessions on the topics of Business, Community, Food & Agriculture and Technology. Speakers were a mix of local experts and industry leaders from three different countries. The goal of the conference was to provide local businesses and residents the opportunity to enjoy a "big city" conference without having to travel to another region. It highlighted the exceptional work that is being done within the community and sought to encourage businesses to leverage all available resources within the community. Additional information on the 2008 conference is available at: http://hicktech.com/2008
In its second year HICK Tech strengthened its commitment to the environment in every possible way. In addition to adding an environment-themed session to each of the four speaking tracks, HICK Tech did as many things as possible to reduce the conference’s impact on the environment by supporting local businesses, reducing waste where possible, and offsetting energy consumed where reduced consumption was not feasible. Below is a list of the things we accomplished as part of this sustainability initiative for our one-day technology conference. It is by no means a complete list of everything that could have been done, but it is a start and should be considered the minimum for all conferences to achieve at future events.
Support local businesses:
- t-shirts were made in Canada, and printed in Owen Sound and were available by pre-order only (alternative: offer a silk screen station where delegates can print their own conference t-shirt)
- conference mugs were hand crafted by a local potter
- all paper printing was done in Owen Sound (including: business cards, posters, promotional brochures, day-of program)
- food was prepared by an in-town catering company (used to catering large weddings)
- day-of AV and post-production editing was completed by two local AV companies
- wireless hotspots were provided by the city as part of the venue rental
- sponsors and international speakers were bag piped into the conference hall at the beginning of the day
- instead of elevator music we used a local R&B jazz duo for the wrap-up "party"
- graphic design for print material was done by a local print designer
- "brand" photo was taken by a local photographer and depicts a steer standing in front of a turbine located within an hour’s drive of the conference venue
Use in-season, local food:
- the local catering company was restricted to a 100 mile radius for all food (an exception was made for coffee, which was roasted locally); in some cases this meant food was sweetened with maple syrup instead of sugar
- the producers of food spoke from the podium about the food they had prepared
- we worked directly with farmers and The 100 Mile Market to source as much food as possible
- we served locally grown apple juice instead of orange juice; water was poured from the tap into jugs that were available on the tables
- locally brewed beer was served at the wrap-up "party"
- less than one garbage bag of waste was produced during the day (over 100 delegates were present; three meals were served during the day)
- use cloth napkins at meals (and the colour matched the conference’s colours)
- no bottled water or canned pop was served (although it was available from a machine down the hall very few delegates chose to buy packaged beverages)
- offered note paper and pens at a table for people to pick up "as needed"
- used real cutlery, plates and glasses
- offered a compost bin at the plate collection area
- printed things in smaller batches "as needed" (using previous years to estimate quantities)
- used a cloth bag for delegates from a local business instead of a conference branded bag
- limited the amount of printed material went into the bags
Offset energy consumption:
- performed an energy audit of the venue (hired an electrician)
- asked speakers where they are traveling from and what mode of transportation they were using
- used Planetair to purchase credits for energy consumed during the day and by traveling speakers—purchased offset credits at the Gold Standard