For those of you I haven’t met, please let me introduce myself: my name is Kim Elena Ionescu and I am the Director of Sustainability at the Specialty Coffee Association of America. This year’s SCAA Expo draws near and all the pieces are falling into place, including defining the responsibilities of the volunteers that make this monumental undertaking possible, and it’s with volunteering in mind that I write to you this morning. While the importance of convening groups of great thinkers and change agents cannot be overstated when it comes to coffee’s sustainability, events like the SCAA Expo carry a hefty environmental price tag: from the carbon dioxide emissions that thousands of jet flights put into the atmosphere to the mountain of cups discarded by highly caffeinated conference participants, the environmental footprint of a successful event typically grows in step with the growth of its audience.
In 2012, the Sustainability Council teamed up with SCAA staff and a green events group called Three Squares to develop a Sustainable Events Strategy that would compel the SCAA to reduce the negative environmental impact of its events, starting with the annual Expo.
Since the 2013 show in Boston, we have measured the greenhouse gas footprint of the show, required environmentally friendly practices from vendors, provided attendees with sustainability tips and, perhaps most significantly, created the Green Team to support efforts to divert compostable and recyclable items from the landfill.
The Green Team has varied in size from year to year, and in Atlanta next month, our goal is to have a large and well-informed contingent of these sustainability ambassadors. In addition to reminding attendees that water bottles are recyclable (you might think that everyone knows that, but a lot of bottles and cans mysteriously end up in the trash can), this year’s team members will have information to share about the winner of the Sustainability Award, sustainability-themed lectures and the key initiatives of the Sustainability Council.
For people attending Expo for the first time, the Green Team may be their first introduction to sustainability in coffee and the most tangible link between concepts like climate change resilience and natural resource valuation that are critical to the future of coffee, and the decisions we make in our day-to-day lives.
We would like to invite you to be a part of the Green Team in Atlanta!
Green Team Shifts are scheduled Wednesday thru Sunday from 8:00am-1:00pm and 12:00pm-5:00pm. If you would like to volunteer in one or more of these shifts please select them when you register for the Expo. If you have already registered for Expo, please contact Customer Service at 224-563-3132, 855-365-0194, SCAA@compusystems.com to add these volunteer positions
And please help us spread the word about the Green Team to further our work to create a sustainable event!
Kim Elena Ionescu | Director of Sustainability
Specialty Coffee Association of America