It’s Not Easy Being Green – But We’re Trying

By Chris Powell

With a nod to Kermit the Frog, it’s not easy being green. But anyone who has read my blogs this past year knows I’m committed to being more aware of the impact my day-to-day decisions have on the planet and how to think differently. Collectively, small things matter, and when possible, big things can be done.

One big opportunity to think differently in my work with Commvault is about a month away: Commvault GO, our annual customer conference. With more than 2,000 people anticipated this year, an event like this would typically generate a tremendous amount of waste in a three-day period. According to event management and sustainable consulting firm Meet Green, an average person attending a conference creates four pounds of waste each day – half of which ends up in landfills. Over three days that means, potentially, our event could create 25,000 pounds of waste.

Um… Wow.

Making Commvault GO a sustainable event

Not surprisingly, sustainability is an increasingly important aspect of event planning. Our event team, led by the incredible Janyce Harper, has been working this year to ensure Commvault GO is being environmentally responsible. We are working with our customer and venue site, the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center, to identify opportunities that will encourage recycling and reduce the waste typically generated at conferences like ours. We’ve even recruited members of our influencer community, whose research is focused around environmental issues and their impact on the broader IT landscape to join in and share their expertise on site.

Here are five pragmatic steps we are taking:

  1. Plastic and paper: We will dramatically minimize the use of disposable service ware; and serve water from dispensers, not individual plastic bottles. Straws will be offered only on request. In addition, we will reduce the amount of printed materials distributed on site.
  2. Food: We’re using data (yup, data) to plan all food/beverage based on historic consumption, and will work with local charities to donate leftover food items. Locally-sourced ingredients will be used to the greatest extent possible. Organic kitchen waste will be collected to create mulch and compost, and used kitchen oil will be filtered and re-used, then repurposed to create biodiesel and animal feedstock
  3. Energy: Sustainability needs to be integrated across all aspects of the event – including the venue. How cold is that air conditioning on site? Doesn’t it always seem too cold?
  4. Construction materials: We are working with the Gaylord and local partners to execute intelligent waste removal, recycling and reuse/repurpose — including identifying local theaters, arts programs and schools to donate construction and other materials after the conference.
  5. Raise awareness: We will promote our mission and goals to run a minimal waste event on our event app and train all staff on how to encourage participation. We also plan to increase visibility of recycling receptacles for guest use.

With this approach, Commvault GO will divert recyclables and compostable items from landfills, show our respect to the greater Nashville area and maybe instill some positive changes in the lifestyles of our vendors, attendees and staff.  From the business side, we’ll even see a small net saving by reducing things such as our landfill hauling costs.

Come to Commvault GO and see how we do. 

See you in Nashville.