“Sustainability is one of the core values of Slush” is a phrase I use a lot. No offence to me, it is a good phrase and it is true, but one day I hope there will be no need to say it. Sustainable choices would be so automatic and obvious for us, our partners, and our visitors that there would be no need to address it. Before that, there is still a lot to do. And a lot of things are being done.
Every year we are more ambitious to find ways to decrease the ecological footprint of Slush. At the same time, we want to create a mind-blowing experience for everyone who is willing to take the ride. On top of that, Slush’s aim is to help the next generation of world-conquering founders forward. How to balance all this – execute a dazzling two-day event with a million details, provide the possibility for future solvers to meet, and stay loyal to our core value, sustainability?
We are fortunate to work with our production company Sun Effects because they have taught us our so-called production ethos: “We use as little resources as possible to relay our content, message, and atmosphere”. Sustainability is, and will always be, closely related to production, but we are moving closer to the point where every team at Slush takes an ownership of it. As guidance we use an environmental management system, EcoCompass, which we have had since 2015. EcoCompass lists different categories of sustainable actions and helps to improve our sustainability performance. We have, for example, saved quite a bit of natural resources by changing water bottles to filtered tap water at Slush. This year we will take these Thoreau water taps to Slush Music, as well. In addition, we only allow the use of biodegradable disposables at Slush. This decreases the use of non-renewable resources. All disposables can be thrown into organic waste and with the help of Lassila&Tikanojathat waste will be used as raw material for biogas.
What’s New for 2017
We want to take the next step and we think it can be taken with the power of cooperation. We ask everyone who joins Slush to also commit to our values, and actually, we do not ask, we insist. Obviously, we cannot insist anything from others if we do not fulfil our part of the deal, and that is why we develop our sustainable actions every year – and are glad to tell others what we are doing.
This year we deepen our cooperation, especially with partners. Partners are an important part of the event since they help us build Slush. Partners can also have a big – either positive or negative – impact on our ecological footprint. Recycling has been, and is, one of our long-term focus points at Slush. In 2017, we have asked every partner to fill a recycling plan.The recycling plan is a form where partners address all materials used at Slush, from the build-up to teardown, and how they are going to recycle or reuse everything. When sending the recycling plan, we have addressed that we highly recommend favoring reusability and paying attention to the lifecycle of each partner booth item. It has been a pleasure having discussions on how to create participatory artwork activities and not forgetting sustainability, for example.
We are also looking for partners who share our values already and can help us to develop ourselves. For example, Palmia, one of our production partners at Slush Music, is a certified actor in the cleaning industry. They appreciate local production, utilize environmentally friendly detergents, and use ecological cleaning equipment and methods. As a local actor, they protect the Baltic sea and they educate their employees in the matter. These kinds of actions are, and will be, important and valuable.
Last but not least, this year we have put more focus on food served at Slush as its environmental impact is tremendous. During the upcoming years, we wish to increase the use of seasonal and organic ingredients while taking into consideration the environmental impact of each dish. This task walks hand in hand with our decision to emphasize our partners’ role to make Slush an even more sustainable event.
Even though it sometimes is a bumpy road making sustainability everyone’s matter, I dare to say, good choices and transparency are not going anywhere. We hope Al Gore would approve this!