Following the success of the IACC Europe Knowledge Festival at Dolce by Wyndham La Hulpe Brussels earlier this month, IACC’s CEO Mark Cooper gives us five highlights that made it extra special.
1) The first ever event to commit to attain the Event Industry Council’s brand-new Sustainable Event Standard
We wanted to put sustainability at the heart of the Europe Knowledge Festival, which meant leading by example. We provided vegan lunches, water stations, compostable or recyclable cups (or refillable glass bottles), as well as ensuring that all conference materials (signage, badges etc.) were printed on sustainable materials.
Oh, and every delegate on our pre-conference tour got there by train or shared transportation!
It’s fantastic to have our commitment to sustainability acknowledged by the Event Industry Council through this new global certification.
2) The pre-conference study tour
Before the conference got underway, a group of delegates enjoyed a day in Antwerp.
The study tour involved a trip to Flanders Meeting & Convention Center, on the grounds of the city's oldest zoo. This was followed by a visit to the Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel to experience the design, innovation and new technology the venue has to offer.
When morning turned to afternoon, the group enjoyed lunch after a short walk to a traditional ”chippery”. The day concluded with a sweet treat: a trip to the Chocolate Nation Museum!
A great day exploring the best Antwerp has to offer.
3) The award ceremony
IACC’s awards seek to find the game-changing innovators within our community.
The IACC Europe Innovation Award, for those displaying ingenuity and creativity, was presented to Land End Conference Centre in the UK for their sustainability initiative.
The IACC Europe Future Leaders Award, for those who demonstrate innovative ideas and initiatives in the workplace, was awarded to Sophia Montagna, the HR Manager at Woodlands Events Centre in the UK.
Finally, IACC’s Global Distinguished Service Award was presented to Jeu Bressers, formerly of the Kapellerput Hotel and Conference Centre in the Netherlands.
Great work everyone!
4) The Copper Skillet competition
The final of the European Copper Skillet culinary competition was also held at the conference. We saw an amazing selection of dishes put together by some of the top chefs from IACC venues. The winners from the European final now go on to compete at Americas Connect in Dallas in 2020.
The senior winner was Sofie Liden from Sigtunahojden in Sweden. She prepared a pan-fried salmon dish with roasted cauliflower, butter-baked endive and edamame beans. Victor Douton Martin, from Dolce Sitges, Barcelona, scooped the junior winner prize for his salmon dish, which came with a creamed fish sauce, pak choi, white asparagus and mixed green vegetables.
And yes, they were all as tasty as they sound!
5) The Solutions Café plenary session
The conference concluded with a Solutions Café plenary session, in which attendees identified changes they were willing to make in order to operate more sustainably.
The pledges included:
- removal of single-use coffee cups that are not 100% compostable in guest rooms
- creating a standard food labelling system which IACC members can adopt for their food stations and menus
- creating an online repository of advice and case studies for members in all aspects of sustainable venue initiatives