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Promoting Green Conferencing


The Gauteng Tourism Summit is a green event, and will be guided by the Summit Environmental Statement measures to reduce the carbon footprint in an effort to minimise its impact on the environment. Some of the areas that will be addressed include waste, water, energy, procurement, communication and local economic development.

A carbon audit of the conference will also be conducted, and steps will be taken to reduce and offset the carbon footprint of the conference. The aim is to use the Gauteng Tourism Summit as an as an example of what the conference industry can do to reduce the carbon footprint of a conference and to encourage the industry to emulate this example.

The summit will be eco-audited by an independent sustainability consultancy, Icologie, bringing it in line with globally developed greening and sustainability standards.

We will also work closely with Event Greening Forum (EGF) to promote and embrace sustainable and ethical business principles within the events industry in Gauteng, with a particular focus on MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conference, and Exhibitions) to ensure we compete at an international level of eco-friendly standards.

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The Forum Company's Green Credentials

The Forum Company's venue, Turbine Hall, was chosen for the summit specifically for its green credentials. Turbine Hall was the runner-up in the 2010/11 SA Tourism Welcome Awards in the Meetings, Venues, Exhibitions and Special Events category.

Turbine Hall took more than two years to remake, but the City of Johannesburg now boasts an iconic new venue in the heart of its arts and culture precinct, Newtown. The building that started out as a power station for the city in the late 1920s is an integral part of Johannesburg’s architectural history and is fast becoming a much-coveted meetings and conference venue, as well the location of choice for corporate launches.

Central to the Forum-Turbine Hall business ethic is a commitment to ensuring environmental sustainability. With the increased global demand to manage the Earth’s precious resources, the Forum Company has embarked on carbon–reduction initiatives throughout its business and works with its clients to enable them to run greener events and conferences.



Ironically, although it was the home of electricity, Turbine Hall has tried to minimise the use of energy by bringing as much natural light into the building as possible. Additional windows, skylights and glass mean that most areas require very little artificial light. The only area that requires lighting at all times is the champagne bar in the cellar.

  • Heating and cooking is done by gas
  • Solar water heating
  • Main electrical DB is wired for possible solar electrical panels in the future
  • 100% of appliances classed as highly energy efficient (ie energy star rating)
  • Sprinkler tanks are used

Land Use and Ecology

  • 100% of the site was brownfield Heritage site
  • 100% of the existing building has been re-used/ restored
  • No neighbouring buildings negatively affected by reduced access to sunlight, daylight or ventilation
  • 60% of the soft landscape does not require mechanical equipment (i.e. lawn cutting) and/ or artificial inputs such as weed killers and pesticides
  • Sharing facilities – the outside landscape park is open to the public
  • Vegetation – a third of the site is covered in vegetation


  • Run-off – a third of the effective site (parking, paths, roads and roofs) is either grassed or has a permeable ground surface planting layer that absorbs water and drains it into the stormwater system
  • 50% of landscape designed to thrive with little water
  • Irrigation system sub-surface micro-drip to avoid water loss through evaporation
  • Low volumes dual flush toilet systems
  • Electronic spray taps


Retention of the building's historical and industrial heritage was a priority throughout the restoration project. Turbine Hall has managed to keep the industrial look and feel of the original building while creating a degree of personality and warmth. It has done this through using aged copper, aged steel, rust and grey for finishes. And yellow – the colour of light – has been used as an accent. The result is an extremely versatile and functional space, requiring minimal additional dressing/decor and facades. In addition, through doing this, it has also minimised the amount of building material waste.

Local and Organic Meals

Working with the conference caterers to offer local and organic food whenever possible, the Forum Company supports locally grown and produced food, will conserve energy used in transportation, and promote local products that are grown using environmentally friendly practices. Jugs of fresh tap water are made available as opposed to bottled water and cloth rather than paper serviettes are used.

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Food and Trees for Africa

{image_5}Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA), is the first (and still only) South African social enterprise that develops, promotes and facilitates greening, climate-change action, food security and sustainable natural resource use and management. Instead of a summit corporate gift, each delegate will have a tree planted in their name by FTFA that will offset the summit carbon emissions.

There are many good reasons why trees are the perfect gift. Trees are a symbol of life, a lasting gift that cleans our air, sinks carbon emissions, reduces erosion, provides shade, reduces noise, helps to keep our water clean, provides fruit, nuts and medicine, provides wildlife habitat and contributes to civic pride. FTFA will present each delegate with a  personalised certificate acknowledging the planting of a tree in the name of each delegate in disadvantaged or needy areas in Gauteng.

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The Gauteng Green Event Guide


In line with our attempts to promote resource efficiency and sustainability in all events organised in Gauteng, we will be launching our Gauteng Green Event Guide at the Summit. The Gauteng Green Events handbook is a guide for organisers, venues, suppliers and sub-contractors in planning and implementing events in a sustainable and responsible manner that will ensure:

  • Environmental best practice
  • Social and economic development
  • Awareness of sustainability issues
  • Monitoring, evaluation and reporting on event greening initiatives
  • Leaving a positive legacy
  • Sustainability issues
  • Monitoring, evaluation and reporting on event greening initiatives

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Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa

{image_4}Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) is a registered non-profit organisation that promotes responsible tourism through awareness raising, advocacy, capacity building, community development initiatives and the facilitation of the world’s first, and still only, tourism “Fair Trade” certification scheme.

FTTSA was originally launched in 2001 by the South African office of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) – the world’ oldest and largest environmental network – with the objective of finding practical solutions to local environment and development challenges.

The principles of fair trade, in combination with environmental management considerations, are applied through a certification programme whereby FTTSA now awards a special label to tourism businesses that invest in people and the environment and are impacting positively on staff, communities, and local economies. Over the years, FTTSA has evolved to stay in line with global best practice, while still making sure its activities are relevant to the local context.
In line with this, all standards are aligned to the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria.

FTTSA certification adds value to tourism businesses in two ways: firstly, by linking products to markets using FTTSA’s worldwide network of 50-plus tour operators who promote certified businesses and associated fair trade itineraries; and secondly, the rigorous certification process is deliberately developmental – feedback processes help businesses to improve the sustainability of their operations through, inter alia, improved skills development, community investment, procurement and prevention of HIV/Aids. FTTSA certification directly and indirectly benefits staff, suppliers, communities, guests and certified businesses themselves.

FTTSA also provides leadership and technical assistance on responsible tourism development by working closely with the government, industry associations and local and international development agencies. FTTSA will be hosting a pre-summit Responsible Tourism Workshop for Gauteng regional tourism managers on the 20 July 2011.

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Carbon Footprint Assessment

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