by Angela Kryhul, Ignite magazine | October 2023
Innovate Canada, one of Destination Canada’s signature business events, reached a major milestone this past spring becoming the organization’s first carbon neutral event. Achieved in collaboration with the Explore Waterloo Region, this cemented Destination Canada’s business event sustainability commitments and dedication to taking a regenerative approach to tourism more broadly.
From May 8 to 11, 2023, Destination Canada’s Business Events team hosted Innovate Canada – Advanced Manufacturing, an immersive event bringing together C-suite decision makers from across the Americas and Europe to learn more about Canadian innovation and global leadership in this sector. In the months leading up to the event, the team worked closely with Explore Waterloo Region and destination partners to activate sustainability measures every step of the way—from transportation and accommodations to off-site venues, site tours, catering, restaurants and more.
“We used amazing venues and carbon neutral restaurants as offsites,” says Virginie de Visscher, acting executive director, Business Events, Destination Canada. “We served vegetarian lunches, gave everyone a reusable water bottle and we minimized the use of single-use plastics. By demonstrating and explaining our sustainability actions, our attendees were on board and loved it. They also had very tangible examples to implement for their own events.”
By the numbers: Innovate Canada was attended by four association clients, five corporate clients, seven sector experts, seven destination management organization partners, one journalist and three Destination Canada staff members.*
Aligning With the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals
Destination Canada wanted to achieve three overarching goals during Innovate Canada: To be carbon neutral; to set standards for future Innovate Canada events; and to inspire change. Organizers aligned their actions with many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Here are just a few of the actions that helped the event achieve carbon neutral status:
> Evolve Limousine’s electric vehicle fleet provided airport transfers, and Evolve planted 70 trees on behalf of the event
> Attendees walked to venues that were within a 20-minute distance
> Hotel guest rooms were stocked with nutritious snacks in sustainable packaging
> Purchases were made from Canadian suppliers wherever possible
> 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent was offset through the purchase of high-quality offsets
By the numbers: The use of reusable containers meant 120 plastic water bottles were not purchased.*
Collaboration with Regional and Community Partners
The Destination Canada team worked with Waterloo Region partners to achieve the event’s sustainability goals:
> Delta Hotels by Marriott Waterloo catered meals using reusable dishware and cutlery, and guest room toiletries, such as shampoo, were offered in large, reusable bottles
> Borealis Grille & Bar, which offsets carbon emissions as part of its business model, served healthy meals using locally-sourced ingredients
> The event’s Signature Night was hosted at the LEED Silver-certified Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum
Personalize Your Group Experience
Contact Jennifer Eddings to learn more about hosting your planet-friendly business event in Waterloo Region.
Jennifer Eddings, Director of Business Development
Explore Waterloo Region
NOTE: All “By the numbers” figures are sourced from the Innovate Canada 2023 Advanced Manufacturing Sustainability Report