Sustainability at Convergence 2013

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 New Orleans Ernest M. Morial Convention Center here.

The following are additional efforts that Microsoft is engaged in to make Convergence 2013 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. We have also eliminated the conference pocket guide and instead optimized for information at your fingertips with our event mobile app.
  • 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 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, 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 & 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 New Orleans 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 New Orleans area.

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

Results from the Convergence 2012 Sustainability Initiative (Houston, TX):

  • Increased the amount of material recycled and composted by 16 tons or 57% over 2011 amounts.
  • We diverted more than 23 tons of cardboard, plastic, aluminum and paper to a recycling plant and composted more than 22 tons of food waste.
  • 2.6 tons of food (approximately 1,700 meals) was donated to local food banks.