Sustainability at VERGE 23
It’s our priority to ensure that our event operations reflect the same values we promote at our conferences - from minimizing and diverting our waste to strategically planning our menus to partnering with innovative organizations who share our goals, we put sustainability at the forefront of the conference planning process.
Explore some of our programs and partnerships below to learn more about what exactly we’re doing to live by our values.
GreenBiz Food Policy
We envision meals at GreenBiz events to be plant-rich, inclusive, delicious, abundant and waste-free. We engage the foodservice teams at all venues we collaborate with on creating low-carbon menus that respect diverse dietary preferences and nourish our guests — balancing our sustainability goals with the needs of our community and the venue’s capabilities.
Food Donation with Copia
We're partnering with Copia to redistribute all of our surplus food to nonprofits in the San Jose community. In America today, 40% of the food we produce goes wasted, while 1 in 6 people are food insecure. What this means: hunger in our country is not a scarcity problem, it's a logistics problem. Copia is the first technology-enabled food recovery solution. They've built industry-leading logistics to solve hunger and food waste at scale, and GreenBiz is proud to be part of the solution.
In 2022, Copia enabled us to donate over 2,000 lbs of food to the communities we host our in-person events in. This translated to over 200,000 gallons of water saved and over 9,000 lbs of CO2 emissions avoided.
Menu Planning with Greener by Default
We’ve partnered with Greener by Default, which consults with events and institutions to apply behavioral science to food policy, nudging diners towards sustainable plant-based options while preserving freedom of choice.
Fueling Up with Good Energy™ from Eat Meati™
This year at VERGE, you'll see Meati incorporated into some of our menu items! Founded in 2017, Meati Foods is working to unlock a more delicious, nutritious, equitable and sustainable food system for everyone. Eat Meati™, the debut product line from Meati Foods, features cutlets and steaks made from MushroomRoot™, a whole-food protein cultivated with a modernized version of ancient and natural processes that have helped preserve Earth's ecosystems for millennia. Eat Meati™ made its retail debut this year and is now available in Sprouts, Meijer, Fresh Thyme and Whole Foods Market locations.
Plant Based Egg with JUST Egg
Launched in 2019, JUST Egg has become one of America’s fastest-growing egg brands. Made primarily from mung beans, JUST Egg is cholesterol-free, non-GMO, and contains about the same amount of protein as a chicken egg. In its pourable form, JUST Egg can be used in scrambles, omelets, fritattas, and even in baked goods like pancakes and cookies. JUST Egg Folded, in the freezer section, is the easiest way to make a delicious and satisfying breakfast sandwich on busy mornings. JUST Egg has been named among Popular Science’s "100 Greatest Innovations" and Fast Company’s "World Changing Ideas".
Kelp-Based Meat with Akua
AKUA is on a mission to increase consumer demand for one of the most sustainable sources of food on Earth: seaweed. The company is the first to pioneer clean and climate-saving meat & seaweed alternatives from ocean-farmed kelp, often hailed as the culinary equivalent of the electric car due to its massive environmental & nutritional benefits, all without sacrificing deliciousness. In 2021, AKUA created The World’s First Kelp Burger, which is now sold in over 1000 grocery stores, to 30+ restaurants, and to thousands of online customers nationwide. AKUA has since launched a plant-based Ground Meat, crab-kess Krab Cakes, two new Kelp Burger flavors, and SpongeBob SquarePants Kelp Patties in partnership with Nickelodeon.
GreenBiz Materials Strategy
We envision GreenBiz events to be sustainable, creative and thoughtful when it comes to our materials and waste strategy. We aim to use as few materials as possible and the materials we do use should be rented (so they can be reused), recyclable with a clear plan for recycling, and created with sustainable, nontoxic materials.
Reaching Zero Waste with GreenWaste
Waste generated at VERGE 23 will be processed by our Zero Waste Partner, GreenWaste®. Waste is transported to the GreenWaste San Jose Material Recovery Facility, where more than 100 types of materials are diverted for recycling or composted at the GreenWaste Z-Best Composting Facility. GreenWaste® is a full-service resource recovery and recycling company focused on revolutionizing how we transform the world’s waste.
Tackling Hard-to-Recycle Waste with TerraCycle
Our Partnership with TerraCycle makes it possible to divert waste by recycling things that are not accepted by curbside services. Hard-to-recycle trash can be deposited in the Zero Waste Boxes with the corresponding waste stream found throughout the event venue. TerraCycle is an international and award-winning waste management company with a mission to eliminate the idea of waste.
In 2022, our partnership with TerraCycle enabled us to divert over 450 lbs of hard-to-recycle materials from the landfill.
Sustainable Printing with YBC
We have partnered with YBC Production to prioritize sustainability when it comes to all of our signage. YBC Production is dedicated to extending your brand presence, without extending your carbon footprint. By recycling all eligible consumables, exclusively utilizing eco-friendly inks, and prioritizing the offset of our own carbon footprint, we print with a purpose.
Learn more about YBC's commitment to sustainability here.
Office Supply Donation with LiquiDonate
LiquiDonate is a sustainable social impact solution for retailers, businesses, nonprofits, and community organizations. The platform matches excess bulk inventory, retail returns, and other unsellable goods with local nonprofits and schools, saving large retailers billions of dollars every year while helping them meet their ESG goals. LiquiDonate makes it easy for nonprofits to get free items that help them serve their communities while keeping useful items out of the landfill.
Reducing Printed Materials with our Conference App
In the place of printed programs, the Whova app offers the best option for accessing the program on-site, connecting with fellow attendees and keeping up with all that VERGE 23 has to offer. Be sure to download the app or access it on your desktop to view the most up-to-date event program. By using the conference app, you are helping to reduce paper use at VERGE 23. Stay tuned for details on when the VERGE 23 app will be live!
Carbon, Plastic, Energy and Water
Plastic Diversion with RePurpose Global
We're partnering with RePurpose Global to collect and remove 100 nature-bound plastic pouches from the environment for every GreenFin 23 attendee. Low-value waste will be collected, upcycled and processed at a rePurpose Imapact project, Sueño Azul in Columbia that empowers waste pickers to tackle plastic waste.
RePurpose Global is the world's leading Plastic Action Platform dedicated to reducing waste, reviving lives, and restoring nature's balance. Today, they are a movement of conscious businesses and consumers taking action on their plastic footprint by empowering innovators on the frontline.
In 2022, RePurpose Global collected over 697,000 plastic bags on behalf of GreenBiz, totaling over 2 million lbs of plastic removed from the environment.
Carbon Removal with Carbon Direct
This year GreenBiz is partnering exclusively with Carbon Direct to deliver a portfolio of high-quality carbon removals for emissions associated with attendance at VERGE’23 and other GreenBiz events. The carbon removals provided by Carbon Direct will cover 50% of event emissions through a curated portfolio of credits independently evaluated against their criteria for high-quality carbon removal. The carbon removal credits provided by Carbon Direct are a diversified portfolio of hybrid and nature-based projects. Every project is vetted for additionality, durability, carbon accounting method, harms and benefits to the local environment and community, environmental justice, leakage and MRV.
Carbon Reduction with Watershed
We've partnered with Watershed, the enterprise climate platform, to measure the carbon footprint of our business operations and our large, in-person events. Watershed's mission is to help decarbonize the global economy by giving companies the tools and services they need to take meaningful action on their greenhouse gas emissions. Their platform allows businesses like ours to measure and analyze their complete carbon footprint, take action to reduce and remove those emissions, and report on progress to stakeholders and regulators. Watershed helps companies around the world turn their net zero ambitions into reality, fast.
Water Restoration with BEF
Business for Water Stewardship (BWS), a program of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), helps businesses work collaboratively with community and policy stakeholders to advance solutions that ensure people, economies, and ecosystems have enough clean water to flourish. BWS unlocks collective corporate action to accelerate real, measurable, and lasting water solutions. Since 2009, BEF has facilitated 100 corporate partners providing $28M in funding support to fund 390 water projects resorting over 45 Billion gallons of water to date.
At VERGE 23, GreenBiz is specifically contributing to the Foster Meadow Habitat Restoration, nestled at 6800 ft elevation in the Sierra Nevadas. A small and diverse meadow ecosystem, the 27-acre project area includes degraded reaches of the river to be restored, and functional reaches to conserve. The natural hydrology of the meadow has been altered by over 100 years of channel modifications, and intensive livestock use and road building. By reintroducing native soils and meadow plants that resist erosion and promote rainfall infiltration, implementing habitat diversity and varying water depths through creation of islands, peninsulas, and off-channel and in-forest habitat, as well as habitat connectivity, water quality and timing of flows will be improved and aquatic and terrestrial habitats onsite and downstream enhanced.
Tree Planting with One Tree Planted
We have partnered with the global reforestation nonprofit One Tree Planted to plant 4,000 trees on behalf of conference attendees. Reforestation helps to restore forests that have been degraded or deforested, provide jobs for social impact, and restore biodiversity habitat.
One Tree Planted is on a mission to make it simple for individuals, businesses, and foundations to help the environment by planting trees. Their projects span the globe and are done in partnership with local communities and environmental organizations to create an impact for nature, people, and wildlife. Many projects have overlapping objectives that contribute to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
Clean Energy Procurement and Proof with Zero Labs
We partnered with cleantech startup Zero Labs to power VERGE 23 and Bloom 23 with clean energy and prove it, and to showcase Scope 3 decarbonization leadership. Scope 3 emissions, including emission sources like events and business travel, represent the lion’s share of emissions for most organizations. This is why we worked with Zero Labs to procure on behalf of and allocate U.S. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for VERGE and Bloom value chain partners’ event-related electricity use (based on the estimated electricity use from the VERGE and Bloom conference space and attendees’ hotel stays). We are proud to show our support for innovative digital solutions that advance grid decarbonization and offer a new example of Scope 3 leadership for other event organizers to emulate. Stay tuned on the VERGE and Bloom apps to check out the Green Proof from Zero Labs that verifies VERGE and Bloom's clean energy credentials.