While the IAS has always strived to ensure that the International AIDS Conference and the IAS conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention are as socially responsible as possible, AIDS 2008 was the first conference which saw the various environmentally and socially responsible conference practices taking place consolidated into a formal CSR plan. The concept of a socially responsible conference was formally communicated for the first time to conference delegates at AIDS 2008. Information about CSR is now regularly communicated to delegates, exhibitors and external suppliers.
Socially and environmentally responsible practices at past and current conferences include:
- Donation Programme
Since AIDS 2008, the Conference Secretariat has offered delegates the opportunity to offset their flight carbon emission by ticking a box on the registration form. All staff, speaker, and scholarship flights related to each conference are also offset systematically. Thanks to the generosity of delegates, we have been able to support many exciting projects combining environmental, economical and social benefits.
Saambou Sewing Cooperative, Beneficiaries of IAS 2009 Donation Programme
Back in September 2009, a group of nine women from the community of Manenberg outside Cape Town were facing a very difficult challenge. Although they had been working with Township Patterns very successfully for more than two months, at the beginning of October they suddenly had to give back all the industrial machines they were using as no agreement could be reached with the community organisation which was supposed to support them. At that time, Township Non-Profit did not have the cash readily available to buy new machines and the women realised it would take a long time before they could start working again and earning money. And then, one evening, a call from the IAS, Geneva brought smiles to all faces: a R100,000 grant to Township Non-Profit had been agreed by the IAS Foundation and, even more extraordinary, the money was transferred the very same day to South Africa. Thanks to this generous donation, Township Non-Profit was able to immediately buy the necessary equipment for the group, get the process started for the Cooperative registration and three months later, the vibrant Saambou Sewing Cooperative is very proud to report that they are making continuous progress towards becoming one of the strongest cooperatives of the township network. They generate an income of over R 25,000 per month and are very pleased to have received last week their official registration documents from the Department of Trade & Industry. Thank you to the IAS!
Christophe Labesse, General Manager at Township Patterns
Please click on the links below to read about the different projects supported by the donation programme at our conferences:
IAS 2015 | AIDS 2014 | IAS 2013 | AIDS 2012 | IAS 2011 | AIDS 2010 | IAS 2009| AIDS 2008
- All IAS and conference publications are printed on recycled paper. Conference materials are provided by socially and environmentally responsible suppliers and the basis of their CSR policy is one of the deciding factors when choosing suppliers for future conferences.
- Conference organizers have reduced the number of printed conference publications, in order to avoid a large number of leftover books and documents at the end of the conference. An important benchmark and a means of assessing the success of this particular scheme is to see how much paper was saved compared to previous conferences.
- The IAS is collaborating with socially responsible suppliers. For the IAS 2011 Conference, Nexus Collections has been selected as the sole supplier of the conference bags to be handed out to all delegates in Rome. Nexus Collections focus on sustainability and environmentally friendly practices and thus comply with the IAS Social Responsibility criteria for suppliers.” For more information see here
- Conference items such as bags and badge holders are reused whenever possible and, if they are no longer needed, returned to conference organizers to be disposed of appropriately. Conference organizers strive to ensure that the conferences bags are made from natural fiber or from recycled material, wherever possible. The use of local suppliers is also encouraged.
- A donation programme is set up at every conference, in which delegates, staff, exhibitors and donors have access to donation boxes throughout the conference venue in order to donate any item they do not wish to take back home (stationary, banners, furniture, IT equipment, etc.) The IAS partners with a local charity to donate all collected items at the end of the conference.
- The IAS prioritizes the use of water fountains instead of bottled water. The goal is to significantly reduce the number of water bottles used compared to previous years. If lunch boxes are given out, they are made of recycled material whenever possible.
- CSR practices are in evidence at committee meetings organized by the IAS. Policies such as printing double-sided on recycled paper are put in place, and hotels and restaurants are chosen on the basis of how socially responsible they are and whether the food served is organic.
- Waste management at conferences is a key priority for the IAS. In light of this, “Eco Points” are set up throughout the conference venue to put in place an effective waste management system. The overall goal of these practices is the reduction in energy consumption and in order to limit the size of the conference’s carbon footprint.
- More information on the response to our CSR activities can be found in the conference evaluation reports:
IAS 2009 Evaluation Report | AIDS 2010 Evaluation Report