Is a sustainable event possible?

By Arianna Cini

TEDx is a company that brings its strong spirit and ethical values to local communities around the globe through TEDx events, which are organized by passionate individuals who are always trying to discover new ideas and the latest results of the researches in many different sectors, to share them in their local areas.

More than 3000 events are now held annually by volunteers divided into teams, in which every person occupy a role that fits his or her specific skills set.

As the projects are so interesting, extremely well curated and groundbreaking, we decided to contact TEDx Cortina, a non-profit organization that started from the desire to contaminate the beautiful Dolomite ecosystem with ideas that deserve to be shared. What makes this event extremely special and renown is the fact that it is the first TEDx in Italy with a dedicated sustainability team working on it. 

Giada Bortoluzzi, is one of the team members since the beginning of 2020, so we decided to have a chat with her, to better understand the focus of the event and the main concept and strategy behind it.

“I have always been interested in sustainability: it’s the key driver of innovation, it is an integral part of the development. I think it’s essential to do something real and concrete in order to take care of our planet. In my opinion, we need to look at our future, trying to respect nature at the same time. My goal was to give a little contribution in a time of such a big change and growth for us all.”

The crew of TEDx Cortina did an incredible effort in preparing an event just after a global pandemic that drastically changed the way events are held and organized. The team completely redesigned the whole concept, respecting the evolution of the situation and the uncertainties dictated by the pandemic, without giving up the uniqueness and the spirit of the project.

This year TEDx Cortina was held on the 21th of August. The location chosen for the 2020 edition was the Lagazuoi Expo Dolomiti at 2,778 meters, in the heart of the UNESCO Dolomites. A breathtaking view and a place where art, culture and history merge in an innovative space to enhance the world of the Dolomites with its millennial stories.

At the core of the event there were the United Nation’s Global Goals. In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals (officially known as the Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs), that have the aim to create a better world by 2030, working hard all together to end poverty, fight inequality and address the urgency of climate change.

TEDx Cortina has been organized following three of these seventeen advices:

N° 11 - SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES - making communities inclusive, safe and sustainable.

N° 12 - RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION & PRODUCTION - ensuring sustainable patterns of production and consumption.

N° 15 - LIFE ON LAND - protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of the earth’s ecosystem.

Linked to these three points of the sustainable development goals of the United Nations, the focus of the event was therefore the concept of #REUSE: in fact, the ceremony was completely plastic-free thanks to the partnership with PCUP, a company that provided reusable, flexible and durable drinking cups and materials. These cups are created using a special type of silicone made from sand, not from oil, and they are certified for over 2.000 washings with industrial machines.

Each cup is identified by an NFC tag inserted in the bottom, which permits to associate the identity of each cup to the event or to a person. Reading the NFC tag, with the specific smartphone app, the users have access to a gallery composed by the profiles of the speakers and the program of the event, reducing paper waste by eliminating the use of flyers, brochures and press kits. The users are also able to see other people at the event connected to other cups creating a networking system between them.

These amazing ideas are just a small portion of the interesting actions that were taken during Tedx. The best part of the community created during the event is that those refined words and good intentions are accompanied by specific actions.

TEDx Cortina actually collaborated with two Italian associations. The first one was 3BEE, a company which allows the adoption of a hive of bees, safeguarding about 160 thousand insects, enhancing the work of beekeepers by increasing the production of honey. Whereas the second collaboration was with WOWNATURE, an association that worked to plant 30 trees of a species called Moringa in Burkina Faso with the aim to minimize part of the impact related to the event.

TEDx Cortina was a marvelous way to demonstrate to the World that it’s possible to organize an event in which sustainability is the main concept and its truly respected and performed. Events nowadays take a heavy toll on resources, on the environment and on society, often generating significant waste, so this specific sector is in urgent need of change: that’s what our planet needs right now.

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