Sustainability Working Group (pilot)

Sustainability Working Group 2020-2021

Marc Dorenbos (2017) General Member
Robert-Jan Makkinga (2015) General Member
Laura Ietswaart (2017) General Member
Rutger van Dijk (2018) General Member

Supplementary explanation for the environmental friendly committee guidelines:

The infographic outlined above visually shows the main guidelines that committee members should consider when organising an event. The infographic and this attachment are meant to make members more aware of the environmental impact of activities and Ubbo as an organisation. Awareness is an important step in reducing the environmental footprint of our association. Although committee members are free to organise their activity as they wish, we encourage you to take these guidelines in account as much as possible. This supplementary attachment does not only explain the infographic in more detail, it will also go over some tips and give some more information for a personal sustainable lifestyle. The following points will be explained: public relations, materials, transport, catering, speakers and guests, accommodation and location, goodie bag, and personal tips. If there are any questions or remarks, please feel free to contact us at

It is quite easy to make public relations more sustainable. Per March 2020, printing posters for promoting activities only became allowed for activities open to externals outside the association. Examples are the annual historical conference and lectures. In our view, paper posters do not always correlate with a higher sign-up rate of participants. Hence, consider digital alternatives instead of paper PR. Digital alternatives have a bigger reach, are more sustainable and are more cost-efficient.

We highly recommend not to print documents anymore. Before printing, please consider whether a printed document adds value to your activity. Since almost all people carry a smartphone, scripts or booklets with information can be provided digitally. The documents can be printed if an individual requests a paper version of the document provided that (s)he has a good reason. For example, visually impaired persons might prefer paper documents because this helps them to read.

The second guideline concerns materials. With materials, we mean all goods and services that are necessary for organising activities. We urge you to not use disposable items anymore, unless they are compostable. Consider whether there are alternative items that have an eco-friendly label or items that can be reused in other activities or in the future. This also includes items that are bought for long-term usage. This second guideline, like the first guideline, is rather simple to think about and stick to in your committee and activities. If you have an (eco-friendly) item that might be helpful for the organisation or your committee, please send this to the sustainability working group and the Board of Ubbo. We wholeheartedly welcome initiatives and can try to find funds and subsidiaries to buy the item or help with choosing an eco-friendly version of the item.

Thirdly, we would like to mention transport. Transportation in activities is important for two reasons: inviting speakers and guests for activities and participants going to activities, either by themselves or with transport fixed by the committee. When a speaker or guest needs to travel, try to convince them to travel by public transport, or if (s)he lives close to, or in, Groningen consider recommending walking or cycling. It should be clear to guests that our organisation wants to lower its impact on the environment as much as possible. We do not recommend travelling by plane, even when a CO2 compensation is included. If there is a large distance to cross, committee members should consider online activities. The Covid-19 virus learned that online activities are a solid alternative for physical activities. For activities organised for participants we want to urge you to consider walking and biking short distances in and around Groningen. For the bigger distances we would like you to consider hitchhiking or taking the train instead of flying or taking a tourist bus. Always reflect on environment-friendly ways to travel for guests, committee members and participants. And if you need help to find these alternatives, do not hesitate to contact us.

During some events, food and drinks are provided for the participants. When catering is involved, consider locally produced food, and vegetarian and vegan alternatives. Reducing meat consumption is a major contribution to reducing the ecological footprint. Also, please do not waste food. A simple way of reducing food waste is to ask participants for their food preferences and allergies and use the food preferences for ordering at the caterer. Food preferences prevent ordering too much. You could also inquire at the caterer what (s)he does with excess food.

When inquiring about a location or accommodation there are two important things to consider which are disability-friendly access to, and the energy usage, of the location. When contacting locations or accommodations, one can easily inquire about provisions for disabled persons and ways that the location or accommodation tries to reduce their energy usage. Committee members can add in their correspondence that our organisation strives for energy neutrality, and therefore wants to know how the envisioned location uses energy. This also helps to raise awareness for the importance of the environment outside of our association.

The last point of the infographic concerns goodie bags. The most important thing to consider is whether a goodie bag adds value to participants’ lives. Is there a high chance that a participant wants to use the items in the goodie bags? We do not recommend giving away goodie bags since most items are thrown away. If you are really keen on giving away goodie bags, please consider eco-friendly items and reducing the number of items in the goodie bag. Also, inform participants during the sign-up process that the committee is giving away goodie bags and ask participants if they are interested in a goodie bag. Not every participant is interested in a goodie bag. By asking this, the committee reduces the amount of leftover goodie bags.

Lastly, this document wants to raise awareness for the environment in the personal lives of members. There are a lot of online sources that provide information and tips for a more sustainable lifestyle. Think for example of the eco-friendly browser Ecosia that plants a tree for every 45 searches. Or think of simple ways to reduce your personal carbon footprint by eating less meat, buying more secondhand goods or repairing broken items. We gathered some websites that provide information and tips on how to create a more sustainable lifestyle.

Articles to become more environmentally friendly:

Do you want to know how big your ecological footprint is at this moment? Do the test:

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