European Congress of Radiology. Vienna-based company Education Congress Research Ltd has just received the official eco-friendly certificate from the Austrian state, known as the österreichisches Umweltzeichen, which certifies its events as green meetings. Education Congress Research organises a number of congresses including the European Congress of Radiology, one of the world’s largest medical conferences, on behalf of the European Society of Radiology, attracting more than 20,000 people to Vienna each year.
ECR 2014 took place on March 6-10 at the Austria Center Vienna (ACV), and served as a trial event to see if the congress could meet the criteria for the eco-friendly certificate. A congress of this size presents major challenges, as it requires 42 points, automatically placing it in the highest category. The points required are calculated on the basis of compliance with policies in the areas of transport, CO2 offsetting, catering, and venue selection. Furthermore, the actual congress venue also had to meet the same criteria in order for the congress to receive the full green meeting certificate, which the ACV easily achieved as it also holds a green meeting certificate.
Receiving the green meeting certificate was an important goal for Education Congress Research. “In terms of size, with more than 20,000 participants, the ECR is a model for Europe. ECR 2014 was the 20th ECR to take place in Vienna and achieving this eco-friendly certificate makes it a milestone for us,” said Peter Baierl, executive director of Education Congress Research.
To achieve this, the congress had to ensure environmental sustainability in several different areas. In order to achieve the lowest possible CO2 emissions from transport, congress participants were offered discount public transport tickets on the congress website along with accommodation in ten eco-friendly hotels. By cooperating with two catering firms which also boast eco-friendly credentials, the congress could offer locally-sourced products and avoid the use of disposable plates and plastic bottles.
Furthermore, the amount of printed material was drastically reduced by making almost all of it available digitally. For the congress programme, a printer was contracted who could guarantee the highest printing quality while using recyclable paper from environmentally friendly and sustainably managed forests. Even the congress bags were produced from a recyclable felt material.
Through a major expansion of the ECR Live programme, ECR 2014 attracted 5,400 online viewers, a development that is very much in the spirit of green meetings. This particular project will be extended further over the coming years. The ECR is the annual meeting of the European Society of Radiology (ESR), which represents more than 56,000 radiologists worldwide. The ECR is one of the largest medical congresses in the world, attracting more than 20,000 congress participants. With 300 companies exhibiting across more than 26,000m², its technical exhibition is also the largest in Europe.