This year’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition Spring Meeting kicks off today at the Fairmont Royal York in downtown Toronto. The conference, open to all and with over 250 attendees registered to attend, is recognized as the leading educational forum on sustainable packaging. We have an exciting agenda planned for the next three days with nearly 30 leading packaging and sustainability speakers. Session topics range from reducing packaging waste, packaging’s role in corporate sustainability strategies, forest ecosystems and packaging, by-product synergy for packaging materials, and extended producer responsibility. In addition to sessions, we have exciting tours and networking events lined up for the meeting, including tours of Steam Whistle Brewery, home of Canada’s Premium Pilsner and recently named one of Toronto’s greenest buildings; and Peel Integrated Waste Management, the largest facility of its kind in Canada that houses a single stream MRF, a waste transfer station, and an organics composting plant. The meeting is generously hosted by SPC member companies BASF Corporation, Be Green Packaging, MWV (MeadWestvaco), Shanghai Luxin Packing Materials Science & Technology Co., Ltd., and TricorBraun.
Why did we choose Toronto for this year’s Spring Meeting? We always try to locate our meetings in cities that are recognized as environmental leaders, and Toronto is widely recognized as one of the greenest cities in North America, particularly given their extensive waste management and recycling efforts. Toronto is ranked the most sustainable large Canadian city in Corporate Knights magazine annual Sustainable Cities rankings. Toronto also ranks ninth in the US and Canada Green City Index and is the fourth most livable city in the world according to The Economist’s annual ranking of global cities. Toronto was also recently rated the “smartest city” in North America by Fast Company, who cite Smart Commute Toronto, a private sector collaboration working to improve public transportation, as well as the city’s initiative to use natural gas emissions captured from landfills to fuel municipal garbage trucks as major reasons Toronto scores so highly. You can check out Toronto’s Environmental Portal to learn more about the city’s ambitious environmental projects, programs, and policies.
In addition, when we search for SPC meeting locations, we always take into consideration all green initiatives that the conference hotel has implemented. Before choosing a hotel, we outline specific requirements in a “green contract” that the hotel staff must sign to ensure that our sustainable meeting needs are met. Here are some of the of the ambitious green standards that the Fairmont Royal York currently has in place:
- The Fairmont Royal York holds a Four Green Key rating by the Hotel Association of Canada
- 2008 Winner of Gold Level Business Award in Waste Minimization from the Recycling Council of Ontario (3rd consecutive year)
- Recycling program that includes office paper, newspaper, colored and clear glass, aluminum, tin, plastics, cardboard, and corks
- The hotel uses EcoLab cleaning products – Fairmont’s corporate supplier of environmentally friendly cleaning solutions
- Water-conserving fixtures are in guest rooms, including tap aerators, low-flush toilets, and low-flow showerheads
- In 2005, The Fairmont Royal York installed an ultra-modern commercial water softening system, reducing water usage of 476,000 litres per day
- Low volatile organic compound (VOC) materials are used in guest rooms, such as paints, carpets, wall coverings, etc.
- Energy-efficient lighting is used in guest rooms and meeting rooms
- Occupancy sensors and timers are used to control lighting in guest rooms
- Organic waste from the kitchen is composted
- Emissions from the event will be offset through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs or green tags)
For those of you who are joining us in Toronto, we hope you enjoy the city and the SPC Spring Meeting!