Increasing the Sustainability of Convergence 2011

Microsoft understands that our operations and processes can impact—both positively and negatively—the environment, society and the economy. The Microsoft commitment to sustainability includes establishing corporate policies and procedures that conserve environmental resources in our operations and in our products, packaging, and supply chain; creating a global culture of accountability through our core values and codes of conduct; and insisting on strong corporate governance as a fundamental component of our business success.

The following are efforts that Microsoft is engaged in to make Convergence 2011 more environmentally friendly and sustainable – and we need your help to make these efforts successful!

Sustainability Initiatives:

  • Reusable Water Bottles. Attendees will be given a reusable BPA-free water bottle to fill at water cooler stations throughout the Convention Center to reduce individual plastic water bottle waste. We also encourage attendees to bring their own water bottles if desired.
  • Reduced Paper & Collateral. Many materials, including various collateral pieces previously included within the conference bag, have been reduced or eliminated in hard copy and, instead, posted to the website for easy viewing.
  • 100% Post-Consumer Waste Recycled Paper. The majority of necessary conference-created collateral will be printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper (processed chlorine-free) and printed with vegetable-based ink. CommNet stations will also be stocked with recycled paper for on-demand printing needs.
  • Conference Giveaways. The conference tote bag is made from over 75% reclaimed vinyl material from past Convergence event banners and other sources. The conference pen is made from over 70% post-consumer recycled material. The conference badge lanyard is made of 100% recycled polyester and the conference badge holder is made of 51% recycled polyester. The journal book is made with 100% post-consumer recycled writing paper, and printed with soy-based ink. The wire binding is made of 97% scrap metal with only 3% new steel.
  • Reusable Badge Holders. Badge holders will be collected at the end of the event to be reused at future Microsoft Dynamics and Convergence events.
  • Energy Conservation: In partnership with the venue, lights are turned off at night and in unoccupied rooms, many restrooms have motion sensor technology, and during move-in and move-out, exhibit hall lighting is minimized to half capacity and HVAC is reduced.
  • Plasma Screens. Plasma screens will be utilized for session signage to help reduce the amount of hard-copy signage waste. Many other signage elements will be comprised of recycled and reusable materials.
  • Efficient Transportation Practices. A 5-minute “low or no idle” rule is in place – shuttle drivers are instructed to either turn engines off or put them in low idle mode to help reduce emissions.
  • Recycling. Specific containers for recyclable waste, including paper, aluminum, plastic and glass are available throughout the Convention Center. Bulky materials like cardboard and plastic wrap are collected separately during move in and move out.
  • Composting and Donation of Excess food. Leftover food that is appropriate for donation will be donated to local area food banks. Other food waste and compostable service ware will be diverted from the garbage and composted.
  • Sustainable Service Ware. We strive to use non-disposable service ware whenever possible. For those meals where disposable plates, bowls, cups and napkins are used, they are made of biodegradable and/or recyclable materials.
  • Local and Organic Ingredients. Menus will incorporate a small percentage of locally-grown and organic ingredients.
  • Partner Participation. Convergence Sponsors & Exhibitors have been encouraged to help reduce waste by minimizing giveaways and collateral, using recycled materials where possible, and minimizing shipping and packaging needs.
  • Community Volunteer Projects. Attendees will have the opportunity to volunteer in the local Atlanta community as part of the conference activities. There will also be opportunities for attendees to donate conference giveaways and materials to local organizations.
  • Venue Efforts: By selecting a venue that already works hard to implement sustainable activities year round, we ensure a great partnership with these efforts. The Georgia World Congress Center has also implemented many additional sustainability measures.

What you can do to help:

  • Use your water bottle to help reduce plastic waste – by doing this we will save approximately 30,000 disposable bottles of water from the waste stream!
  • Turn in your badge holder at the end of the event in the receptacles provided so that they can be reused at upcoming events.
  • Actively use the recycling bins located throughout the Convention Center to recycle your paper, aluminum, glass, plastic and other waste. Think twice before discarding something in the trash.
  • Use the free Convergence shuttles to transport between Convergence venues and hotels (or walk!) Avoid renting individual cars or taking taxis when possible.
  • Participate in the community volunteer projects to give back to the local Atlanta area.

For questions, comments, or suggestions about these sustainability efforts, please e-mail us at grnmeet@microsoft.com.

Results from the Convergence 2010 Sustainability Initiative:

  • Achieved a 64% diversion/recycling rate, the highest recycling rate for any event to date for the Georgia World Congress Center (as of April 2010).
  • Diverted more than 5.5 tons of cardboard, plastic, aluminum and paper from the landfill to a recycling plant.
  • Composted more than 29 tons of food waste.
  • Donated 1.5 tons of un-eaten food to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
  • Nearly 200 volunteers signed up to help the Atlanta Youth Project Summer Camp expand their camping opportunity for hundreds of inner city children by building new structures and providing landscaping & painting services. Hundreds of volunteers also contributed to colorful paint-by-number murals onsite at Convergence which were later installed in two local hospitals in the Atlanta area.

Questions regarding registration? Contact the Convergence Registration Team.
Questions regarding the event? Contact the Convergence Event Team.