Our commitments to building a sustainable event

Hello Tomorrow
Feb 6 · 4 min read

In March 2020, we’ll be holding the 6th edition of our annual Global Summit. From 500 people at our first event to 3,500 attendees today.

Hello Tomorrow has continued to grow.
So have our responsibilities.

Yet as an event organiser, we are faced with an industry that poses an inevitable problem: how can we justify the environmental cost of a 48-hour event? There’s a long way to go, but we’ve focused our efforts on 3 main topics:

#1 Reduction of single-use and individual production of paper and plastic

#2 Using recycled materials and repurposing our waste

#3 Lowering our environmental impact

Read on to see what we have done this year and what we hope to achieve in the future.

Measure #1: We’re reducing the production of single-use paper and plastic

In 2019, we had already replaced all plastic bottles with glass bottles along with recycled cardboard cups. United Kitchens, a Parisian food incubator which has provided Hello Tomorrow catering since 2017, delivered 3,000 lunches with plastic-free packaging. We are happy to be continuing our work together this year.

In 2019, we printed thousands of paper programs, 5 boxes of which were left over after the event after our attendees used the event app to check the program — a total waste!

In 2020, we will no longer print out individual paper programs, which will instead be entirely available through our event app Swapcard (download here!). We’ll keep a single printed program at the entrance of the stages, in case your battery runs out.

Last but not least, tickets.

In 2019, our participants printed their own ticket before the event and it was both an ecological and logistical nightmare. In 2020, show up at the door with your profile on the event app Swapcard in hand, and print your tickets on-site on recycled and recyclable paper. This ticket will also serve as your badge! We’ll also be reusing our lanyards, inviting each participant to drop them in a box when they exit.

What about tomorrow?

There are still efforts that could be made in the food and drink area. Water fountains? Bring your own lunch?

Measure #2: We want to reduce our waste, especially on scenography

Have you seen our stages? Really have you seen them?

For the first time in 2020, we are working with Phenix to redistribute the wood, the floors, to redistribute all the raw materials produced and transformed during the event.

We’re renting instead of buying. (What on earth can you do with tons of salt in Paris anyway?).

What about tomorrow?

Scenography is part of what makes the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit special. In the upcoming years, we’ll be going further to limit our waste.

Measure #3: Lowering our environmental impact

In 2019, we went a bit overboard. We had 7 different furniture rental companies, not including furniture we purchased.

In 2020, we have reduced our range of service providers to only 2 entities and we’re working with Emmaüs, a social enterprise in Paris which repurposes materials, to create ethically built customised pieces of furniture. Pimp your Waste will also be creating wonderful chairs for us from recycled materials.

In 2020, we’ll be offering pre-ordered vegetarian lunches only. Is the public ready to eat meat-free lunches this year? We are also installing a Thai food truck in the same spirit.

What about tomorrow?

One of the issues of building a global event is that it is… Well…global. Bringing everyone together in one single place for 48hours seems hard to reconcile with sustainable goals. Yet, nothing beats meeting in person! As European talent is blooming, many of our speakers, based in Europe are opting for the train, thus reducing their carbon footprint. This year, with Deep Tech Week, we’re hosting events throughout the entire week, to make it really worth your while coming all the way to Paris!

Want to reduce your carbon footprint? Why not support an organisation offsetting flights or support renewable jet fuel with a company like Flightnook?

We know there is much more to be done and we’re on the lookout for the next deep tech solutions for more sustainable alternatives to long-haul flights.

We are aware that while these are good measures, there’s always room for improvement on those topics. Do you have any suggestions? Ideas? Something you saw at an event that worked well? Please do share and let’s build sustainable events together!

All sustainable event initiatives are made possible thanks to Hello Tomorrow Global Summit Director Jeannette Boulanger and the team.

Hello Tomorrow

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Unlocking the power of deep technologies to solve some of the world's toughest challenges. www.hello-tomorrow.org

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