The ESCRS Sustainability Commitment and Vision

ESCRS and I are committed to improving the sustainability of all our activities as a society. As it was with our 2022 Congress in Milan, improving the footprint of the Winter Meeting is a priority, and we are working with our partners to organise a socially and environmentally responsible event. Our vision is to work towards zero waste to landfill, zero net carbon emissions and become a role model for social responsibility.

This means we have to work collaboratively to support the wellness of our event participants, give back to local and global communities, regenerate ecosystems, and inspire sustainability action from our event participants.

We invite you to join us in this journey.

Prof. Oliver Findl
President, ESCRS

We continue to work with international sustainability experts, the Global Destination Sustainability Movement (GDS-Movement). To guide us on our journey, we formed a sustainability team consisting of ESCRS members, MCI Geneva, the GDS-Movement, the venue, as well as other key suppliers.

Together, we are collaborating to create a strategy and implement a bold operational action plan that we call “Mission Zero”.



Partner with ASCRS, APACRS and AAO to promote initiative.

Integrate a sustainability track into the event programme.

Recruit at least four new organisations into the Sustainability Partnership programme.



Eliminate 90% of single-use plastic, polystyrene and PVC.

Decrease waste sent to landfill to less than 20%, and increase recycling to 50+%.

Ensure 70+% of all signage and branding is made from more sustainable materials.



Encourage 20% of delegates to arrive by climate-friendly transport.

Aim for 60+% of food served is vegetarian or vegan.

Make sure 80% of food is locally sourced (less than a 160km-radius).

Non-avoidable carbon emissions will be offset by investing in a portfolio of sequestration projects.



Increase the balance of female speakers to 35%.

Integrate at least 1 community/charity partnership in the event.

Integrate sports activity into the Winter Meeting.

To achieve these goals, we have defined the following design principles for the sustainable organisation of the event:

  • Eliminate waste, emissions and pollution
  • Recycle materials and products
  • Switch to more sustainable materials
  • Regenerate natural systems (people, place and planet)
  • Design for inclusion and diversity
  • Use our sustainability efforts to improve participants’ event experience

To make a sustainable event requires commitment and collective action from participants, exhibitors, sponsors, organisers and suppliers. Our approach is to engage, inspire and catalyse collective action to develop a zero-impact event.

We will calculate the carbon emissions and waste footprint of the Winter Meeting using industry best practice methodologies as well as an advanced measurement tool called TRACE. The emissions from local event production, delegate and team travel, accommodation, food & beverages, venue and online participation will all be measured.

The unavoidable emissions will be compensated through carbon offset projects with Climate Impact Partners. They are one of the global leaders in helping organisations to meet their ambitious climate goals. We will invest in 3 high-quality, certified projects that will provide impact in emissions reductions and social development for developing economies.

We support selected projects that:

  • provide clean and safe cooking and water systems to isolated communities
  • increase well-being and health by reducing smoke inhalation and air pollution
  • provide renewable energy solutions that protect the local environment as well as offer affordable, clean and reliable energy access to communities

Finally, a sustainability report will be produced to identify the strategy, best practices and learnings from the Winter Meeting. In addition, recommendations to improve performance in the Vienna Congress 2023 and other ESCRS events will also be created.

“It takes a village to raise a child” – African Yoruba proverb

Sustainability only works if we are all involved and working together.

It’s on each of us to find ways to take action in our own sphere of control, whilst using our influence, as small as it may be, to encourage, or demand, that those with power do something about it.

We propose key actions below that you can take to create a more sustainable event experience with us. Why not take the ESCRS Mission Zero Pledge and join us on this journey?

1. Exhibit Sustainably

We’re encouraging our partners and exhibitors to champion social and environmental responsibility at ESCRS events. From ordering sustainable cater ware to offsetting your event-related emissions, your commitment helps us to create a Winter Meeting that supports both people and the planet.

2. Travel more Sustainably

Let the train take the strain and don’t take a plane.

If you are flying to Lisbon, make sure to check the train line that connects Lisbon and Loule, from Loule, it’s a short ride to reach Vilamoura.

In Vilamoura, walk or cycle to reduce reliance on taxis. For optimum health, the UK Department of Health recommends ‘brisk walking’ for at least 10 minutes a day or, ideally, 10 000 well-paced steps (around 8km per day). Not only it is good for you, soft mobility also provides better value as it is free, less stressful and will allow you to feel better during your time at the Winter Meeting.

3. Choose a Sustainable Hotel

When choosing accommodation, add sustainability criteria to your search. Try and book a hotel that has a sustainable certification. has a sustainability option in their search engine.

4. Eat more Sustainably and Healthily

We are working with caterers to offer you healthier and climate-friendlier food and drink options for official and private events. We aim to eliminate red meat and serve at least 50% delicious vegetarian and vegan options.

5. BYO (Bring Your Own)

We are working to eliminate single-use plastic water bottles and focus on water stations at the event. Almost all of us now have a reusable coffee cup or bottle, and the use of non-disposable cutlery kits is growing. BYO is a great way to reduce your waste, not only at ESCRS events, but also in your daily life.

6. Recycle

We are working with Tivoli Marina Vilamoura Resort to implement an advanced recycling system for this event. However, this will only work with your support. Do your part and recycle appropriately by putting waste into the right container.

Throwing food or general waste in a recycling bin can contaminate its contents, which means it heads to landfill or incinerator, not to a recycling facility where it belongs!

7. Share your Success!

What we see, we can try ourselves. So, sharing your personal event sustainability efforts and successes can encourage others to do the same – and this applies to you and to your corporate partners!

Use the ESCRS social media channels to share: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn

ESCRS Winter Meeting 2023 Sustainability Report

Measurement, Offsetting, and Reporting Methodology

We calculated the carbon emissions and waste footprint of the 2023 Winter Meeting using industry best-practice methodologies as well as an advanced measurement tool called TRACE. We measured the emissions from local event production, delegate and team travel, accommodation, food and beverages, venue and online participation.

The unavoidable emissions were compensated through carbon offset projects with Climate Impact Partners. They are a global leader supporting organisations to meet their ambitious climate goals. We invested in 3 high-quality, certified projects that provide impact in emissions reductions and social development for developing economies.

1. Aqua Clara Water Filters, Kenya

Gold Standard-certified. Providing clean cooking and safe water to remote communities.

Less than 50% of Kenyans have access to safe drinking water. This project supplies families and schools in Kenya with affordable water filters thanks to community-led microfinance loans. These filters clean the water so that families don’t have to boil it for it to be safe. Click here for more information.

2. Bondhu Chula Stoves, Bangladesh

Gold Standard-certified. Providing clean cooking alternatives with a “friendly” stove.

Smoke from traditional, open firepits in Bangladeshi households contributes to nearly 50000 premature deaths a year and causes millions of lung, eye, or skin infections. This project uses carbon financing to offer more affordable, safer stoves and creates long-term entrepreneurial jobs and skills with more than 5 million installed. Click here for more information.

3. Renewable Energy Portfolio, Global South

CDM, VCS, and Gold Standard-certified.

Clean power is one of the most effective ways to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from traditional energy generation. Carbon finance from the carbon offsets pool can be key to scaling and speeding up the global energy transition to clean power. Put the two together and you have more capital for net zero solutions, worldwide, but especially in regions that would benefit greatly from such support. Click here for more information.

From 2022, we committed to integrating social and environmental sustainability into its community, meetings, events, and activities.  

With the help of the GDS-Movement and the contribution of key members and partners, a two-year sustainability strategy was developed. Download the ESCRS Winter Meeting 2023 report below to view our progress.