38th Annual ESRA Congress – Sustainability First | Eventex Winner


ESRA held its largest annual congress with over 2,000 participants that gathered in Bilbao, Spain.

This was also the most sustainable meeting of the organisation, and the first congress to sign the IAPCO Plastic Pledge, and to additionally participate in the Eventex ‘We are green’ initiative.

" It was delightful to reach so many new milestones together with the Kenes Group team. By now we do work like one and we always strive to improve the overall delegate experience and do it in a way that is safer for the environment. This year’s congress is a testament to that. "

Innovation & Creativity

The European Society of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Therapy (ESRA) wanted to raise the profile of their annual congress by creating an environmentally friendly event. For the 38th congress, the society took a step and committed to the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) Plastic Pledge, outlining the actions to be taken around the Bilbao meeting. ESRA and Kenes Group evaluated the whole process and each element of the congress in order to diminish its impact on the local community, the environment, and reduce the use of single-use plastic to the bare minimum.

ESRA is the first organisation to commit its annual congress to the IAPCO Plastic Pledge.

Objectives, Planning & Execution

In the Pledge, ESRA vowed to make real measurable changes:

  • To end the use of non-recyclable plastic from the entire congress – replace it with biodegradable or recyclable options;
  • End the use of single-use plastic water bottles by offering coolers with glasses, durable water bottles, or glass water bottles.

Effectiveness & Results

The results from the changes made and the avoided single-use plastic are:

  • Cups: 15,000 (45 kg)
  • Bottles: 1,000 (14,31 kg)
  • Straws and stir paddles: 20,000 (8,4 kg)
  • Cutlery: 9,000 (16,2 kg)
  • Plates: 4,500 (18 kg)

And additional materials reverted from landfilled:

  • Roll-ups: 36 (180 kg)
  • Disposable bedding during pre-event workshops (about 1 kg)

In total 282.91 kg of plastic and non-recyclables avoided the landfill, averting 1,697.46 kg of CO2 emissions. Kenes Group and ESRA went beyond the actions mentioned in the Pledge, by focusing also on lowering CO2 emissions:

  • Conference bags made from recycled materials
  • More vegetarian options in the menu
  • One bulk shipping instead of multiple ones from various destinations

After the overwhelmingly positive feedback from ESRA’s community, the society is gearing up to introduce more changes at the 39th ESRA Congress in Thessaloniki in 2020, aiming toward no plastic onsite, better use of materials, and an overall reduced footprint on the environment.

The event was a Silver award winner in the Sustainable Event Category at Eventex Awards 2020:

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