Opportunity Green's 2010 Sustainability Report

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This report outlines some of the key environmental impacts that result from running our conference. More businesses than ever are reporting their social and environmental performance, but few conferences are – and we can understand why they’re not, given the challenge, risk and exposure. So why has Opportunity Green committed to producing a report like this? For the same reasons your business is - because it simply must be done. We’re in a paradigm shift. This new economy that’s emerging will require organizations to collaborate and communicate in new ways. We foresee a time when, in order for a business to be considered truly world-class, it will need to be transparent and authentic about the impacts of their supply chain - and the impact of their product’s end-of-life as well. Though our event is small in scope compared to many businesses, by making our process transparent we hope to provide a valuable learning opportunity for you and for us. We want you to learn from our experience. And we want to learn from yours as well. By putting ourselves out there as a visible example – warts and all - we hope we can become an even better corporate innovation partner. If you’ve started a similar process at your company, then you already know that these reports aren’t easy to produce. Your willingness to support our sustainability efforts is much appreciated. We encourage you to get involved in similar efforts where you live and work. Then share your stories with us!



Leveraging our presence, our voice, and our programming, Opportunity Green intends to • Expedite the new economy. • Clarify the process of integrated reporting. • Transform business as usual. In 2009 our team had one goal: to produce a meaningful sustainability report by January 15, 2010. We also hoped to benchmark our resource consumption and outputs. This report was completed on June 12, 2010. Our 2010 goals are still in development, and will likely be announced a few days prior to the 2010 conference.


Thank you to all Green Team Leads and Volunteers, to Edward Pakdaman, to Andrea Goodman for research support, to Jenny Chan for designing this report, to Robert Gilbert at UCLA for his patience and professionalism, and to our sponsors who made our job easier. Here’s to more improvement in 2010, Jeff Hayes Sustainability Director Opportunity Green Sustdir@OpportunityGreen.com

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PERFORMANCE REPORTING DETAILS WATER USAGE • We used 9,583 gallons of water in 2009. • Water usage was calculated simply by looking at the meter prior to and immediately after the conference. Because we shared the conference venue with UCLA students and faculty we know that our usage was lower, but there is no practical way to measure that margin.

MATERIAL OUTPUTS • We consider “Material Outputs” to be all materials our attendees dispose of during the conference, including paper, cans & bottle, and compostables. In 2009 our total material output was 1600 lbs. Material weights were rounded to the nearest 10 lbs. by the vendor. • We diverted 84% of material that came in to the event from going to landfill. • Sent to Landfill = .36 lbs. per attendee Resource Recovery per attendee: • Compostables Diverted from Landfill = .73 lbs. per attendee • Recyclables Diverted from Landfill = 1.13 lbs. per attendee • Liquids Diverted from Landfill = 1.15 cups per attendee Why are we diverting liquids? • Since wet paper can’t be recycled, diverting liquids allowed us to recover waste paper using the same bin we use for cans & bottles. We understand that recycling is a low-leverage tactic. A better tactic is re-use - and an even better tactic is to “pre-cycle”. Pre-cycling means to consider prior to purchase, whether an item is 1) multi-use, 2) produced from recycled materials, and 3) packaged with little or no waste. Opportunity Green is currently pre-cycling and re-using but we can do much better in both regards. One example of re-use was providing 2009 attendees with a KOR water bottle nearly eliminating consumption of single-use plastic water bottles at the conference.

NATURAL GAS CONSUMPTION • Total natural gas consumed in 2009 was 8,400 cubic feet. • Consumption per attendee was 1.18 cubic feet. • From 2008 to 2009 our consumption of natural gas more than doubled. We attribute some of the increase to greater attendance, some to our utilizing more square footage at the venue, and some to a difference in the weather. Also, hot water at the venue is heated by natural gas.

KWH CONSUMPTION • Total kWh consumption in 2009 was 12096 kWh, apparently unchanged from 2008. • Per attendee that’s 17 kWh. • The reason for our year-to-year consumption not changing: the smallest unit that the venue’s meters register is 7200 kWh, so there simply isn’t enough resolution in the data to note smaller differences.

2009 PREPARATION Back in 2007 the organizers received many passionate comments about what wasn’t working at the event. It seemed like they were frequently addressed by attendees with comments like, “Look at this chip bag! You call this is a green event?!”


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In 2008 we organized a dedicated greening team to address that challenge. We set our sustainability goals quite high, and experienced some success, but also recognized how involved it was. So for 2009 we scaled-back some of our loftier goals and set our sites on the attainable target of reducing waste as much as possible, and creating a bench-marking system and reporting format. We were fortunate that the 2008 team had developed an effective day-of-event greening process. and happily adopted much of it. In August 2009 our team began looking at feasibility and discussing which resources to track. We had to consider a variety of stakeholders who we felt needed to be satisfied with our program, including: attendees, our host, our sponsors, and our vendors. Our reporting basis consisted of tracking four resources: Water, Electricity, Natural Gas, and Materials. Leading an all-volunteer team 140 people strong took a great effort. Coordinating our team’s day-of-event greening tactics was an enormous task, and was handled ably by Edward Pakdaman of Sustainable Works. Well done Edward! Well done G-Team!!

DAY OF 2009 Because of our team’s training and coverage, the resource recovery process came off almost without a hitch. Our single goal – “to produce a meaningful sustainability report by January 15, 2010” - kept everyone involved focused on one outcome, and generated a collaborative spirit that helped to buoy us when things got challenging. We called our over-arching goal ‘The Main Thing’. Here’s a link to video of some of our Volunteers answering that question in 2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Hj8HogDVmI If you attend Opportunity Green in 2010 please feel free to ask anyone on our G-Team “What’s The Main Thing?” Not surprisingly, our biggest challenge came from managing Material Outputs. For example, when our G-Team wasn’t sure which bin the empty lunchtime chip bags should go into it caused some consternation among attendees, and we learned a valuable lesson in the process.

OUR OUTCOMES Our 2009 commitment was “to produce a meaningful sustainability report for our stakeholders by January 15th, 2010”. This turned out to be far more challenging than we expected. So this year we’ve made some adjustments – for one thing, we’re giving ourselves more time after the conference is over to compile this report. Other adjustments are described below.

PLANS FOR 2010 In 2010 our event is moving to an exciting new venue in downtown LA, the much larger Los Angeles Center Studios (LACS). Our new venue will be easier for you to access, and offers a larger canvas to paint a broader picture of corporate sustainability best practices. LACS has already implemented many sustainability measures over the last few years, so resource recovery, tracking and reporting will have a higher degree of accuracy and will be much easier for our team. This venue offers more options for you and for us. We can get much more creative with ways we can less harm, increase our eco-benefits, and report our performance and experiences back to you clearly and compellingly. Our G-Team is also reviewing the Global Reporting Initiative’s reporting format, and we’re considering how to adapt it for our event. You can join in the conversation, or make suggestions via our linkedin discussion group http://ow.ly/22xEI The Main Thing for Opportunity Green’s 2010 G-Team is to Use the Global Reporting Initiative framework to produce a sustainability report for Opportunity Green stakeholders by January 31, 2011.


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OG 2009 - SPONSORS PAGE Opportunity Green is very grateful to our sponsors

If you’re interested in sponsoring/participating in OG10 please contact Karen Solomon Karen@OpportunityGreen.com See you in 2010 at Los Angeles Center Studios! OG SUSTAINABILITY REPORT

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