Thoreau on mukana vuoden 2019 Slushissa vesivastaavana. Johtava startup-tapahtuma jatkaa myös tänä vuonna vastuullista linjaansa. Juttelimme Slushin sustainability strategist Anna Pakkalan kanssa siitä, millainen rooli Thoreaulla on osana Slushin kestävää kehitystä, ja mitä vastuullisen tapahtuman järjestäminen Slushin mittakaavassa vaatii.
Slush is back this week, as Helsinki prepares for another installment of the annual startup and tech event. In the midst of the excitement is Thoreau, who will once again be serving water to attendants. We spoke with sustainability strategist Anna Pakkala about Thoreau’s role in Slush and what it means to hold a sustainable event for over 20 000 participants.
For an event like Slush to be sustainable, sustainability has to flow into every single part of the organization – and its partners. This idea is summarized into Slush’s self-coined term, slushtainability. “The term means that sustainability isn’t an afterthought or something one team plans behind closed doors; it’s present in everything we do,” Anna explains.
To root sustainability into all aspects of the event, Anna’s team relies on simple, concrete actions in addition to larger, strategic planning. For example, partners are required to prepare waste management plans for their booths. Each food vendor is required to offer vegetarian options. All print material is forbidden. Participants are given HSL tickets and told ahead of time to use trains and buses.
What role does Thoreau play in Slush’s sustainability? The water concept helps organizers eliminate waste, as participants don’t need to be given plastic bottles. Across the venue, Thoreau’s stations serve chilled and filtered water. Everyone is encouraged to bring their own bottle and refill it when needed.
However, it’s not just about saving plastic. Thoreau has also become a memorable way to showcase Nordic culture – and our high-quality tap water, of course. “Many visitors are surprised to find out that the water we serve them comes from the tap,” Anna says. “I think that it’s a great way to set an example and show how we utilize tap water in the Nordics.
What piece of advice does Anna give to others, hoping to organize sustainable events? Start by thinking about the things that every visitor will see, touch and experience. Name tags, gifts, flyers, methods of transportation… Next, cut whatever you can. While waste management is important, not creating waste in the first place is even better, Anna points out.
“At the end of the day, it’s the small things that matter, “she says. “It may not seem like much, if one person chooses a bus over a taxi. However, at Slush we get 20 000 attendants, so every good deed towards the environment is multiplied by that amount. For example, if every visitor eats a vegan meal one day, we’ve already made a difference.”
Interested in hearing more? Contact us and find out how Thoreau can make your event more sustainable!