Sustainability Efforts

Sustainability at Convergence 2014

At Microsoft, we're committed to software and technology innovations that help people and organizations around the world improve the environment. Our goals are to reduce the impact of our operations and products and drive responsible environmental leadership.

We actively partner with the venue to reduce our environmental impact, and you can read about the extensive efforts of the Georgia World Congress Center.

The following are additional efforts that Microsoft has engaged to make Convergence 2014 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.
  • Giveaways. We try to ensure that the giveaways that are distributed onsite at the event are sourced responsibly. For example, the pen in the conference bag is made from recycled bottles.
  • Recycled Paper. The majority of necessary conference-created collateral will be printed on 100% recycled paper (with 30% post-consumer waste), processed chlorine-free, and printed with vegetable-based ink. Communications Kiosks will also be stocked with recycled paper for on-demand printing needs.
  • 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 five 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, cans and plastic bottles 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 from the kitchen may be diverted from the garbage and composted.
  • Local and Organic Ingredients. Menus will incorporate a small percentage of locally-grown and organic ingredients.
  • Partner Participation. Convergence sponsors and exhibitors have been encouraged to help reduce waste by minimizing giveaways and collateral, using recycled materials where possible, and minimizing shipping and packaging needs. Leftover items from the Expo Hall will also be actively donated to local organizations.
  • Community Outreach Projects. Attendees will have the opportunity to volunteer both in the local Atlanta community and onsite as part of the conference activities. There will also be opportunities for attendees to donate any unwanted conference giveaways and materials to local organizations at the end of the event.
What you can do to help:
  • Use your water bottle to help reduce plastic waste – by doing this we will save approximately 60,000 disposable bottles of water from the waste stream!
  • Actively use the recycling bins located throughout the Convention Center to recycle your paper, cans and plastic bottles and other recyclable 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 when possible.
  • Participate in the community outreach 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 2013 Sustainability Initiative:
  • Reduced garbage going to the landfill by 27 tons (36% reduction, equaling about 3 semi-trucks) compared to the prior year in Houston.
  • Efforts to reduce the amount of printed material saved approximately 59 cases of paper (3,000 pounds and approximately 35 trees).
  • Convergence was the first event at the New Orleans Ernest M. Morial Convention Center to have food waste composted. We diverted 2 tons (4,000 pounds) of food waste from the landfill which also helped support the community garden organization, Nola Green Roots.
  • Thousands of leftover materials from the event were donated to local organizations in need.