Leading by example


smart city zero wasteSince 2011, Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC) has added its grain of sand to the collective effort to make our cities more sustainable and better places to live, or as the motto of the next edition puts it, to make ‘Cities made of Dreams’. At that time, studies were already predicting that the future of humanity would inevitably be one of giant metropolitan centres and that the surest way, maybe the only way, to ensure a better future would be to improve our cities.

In this context, Smart City Expo does not aim to take part only by showing how we can design and build more sustainable and hospitable cities, but to do so by practicing what it preaches. The 2019 edition of SCEWC will include two initiatives, Towards Zero Waste and Towards Inclusivity, that are intended to make it an international benchmark as a trade fair organization that is both sustainable and inclusive.

zero wasteThe Towards Zero Waste initiative will apply dematerialization (replacement of traditional physical media), selective waste collection, prevention and reuse of materials and compensation for emissions to make the show as sustainable as possible. The actions planned include the elimination of single-use plastics, the elimination of food waste, the reuse of material, such as passes and passholders, selective waste collection, dematerialization of event items in favour of digital substitutes (event app, electronic billing, digital kiosk and digital press room) and compensation of all carbon emissions.

The initiatives presented this year also include a project to invest all the profits from merchandising sales in the reforestation of the town of Traid in Guadalajara (Spain). This idea is being implemented in collaboration with CO2 Revolution, a Spanish startup that has developed a smart seed (Iseed) that can be sown from drones. This new technology will allow large areas to be replanted in just a few hours and at low cost. The innovative method also allows the growth of the ecosystem to be monitored.

Inclusion is another key

patinete smart cityThis year, SCEWC is also focusing on inclusion through its new project Towards Inclusivity with the aim of ensuring that the event is accessible for all visitors and that all groups are represented and all voices heard. This initiative is intended to reinforce the event’s goal of making cities more inclusive, consisting of a series of actions such as distributing electric scooters to people with reduced mobility to make sure they can get around the space without difficulties, setting aside privileged spaces for wheelchairs and scooters in all the congress halls and food courts during the event and arranging guided visits for persons with visual impairment.

Besides this, SCWEC continues to work towards reducing the gender gap by increasing women’s presence at the Congress and by programming sessions specifically dealing with gender equality. Cultural and religious diversity is another important focus of this initiative and the event will provide prayer rooms adapted to all needs and prayer kits to prepare those attending. There will also be special halal, kosher and vegetarian/vegan menus available.

The SCEWC Towards Zero Waste initiative was started in 2015 and prevented the production of over 15,300 kg of waste in 2018 (190% more than 2017), ensured the selective collection of 10,740 kg of waste (an increase of 253% over 2017) and the reuse of 23,000 m2 of carpeting, compensating for 181,25 tons of CO2 emissions.