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 commitment to sustainability at ifos 2022


Partnering with our host venue; the Vancouver Convention Centre, Tourism Vancouver and the city of Vancouver, IFOS 2022 is committed to hosting a sustainable congress. 

green vancouver

Vancouver is Canada's greenest city, has the smallest per capita carbon footprint of any city in North America and is industry-recognized front runner in green building, planning and technology. The Greenest City 2020 Action Plan incorporates improvements to building design, increased access to nature, cleaner air and water, an emphasis on locally grown ingredients and other lifestyle changes. Not ready to settle to be the greenest city in the world by 2020, the city of Vancouver is looking further and in 2015 announced that it is now aiming to be 100% powered by renewable energy by 2050. 

Green growth and TRAVEL-ISM: Vancouver

Surrounded by a panorama of mountains and ocean, Vancouver ranks among the greenest and most livable cities in the world. But though the city is already known internationally as an environmental leader, the City of Vancouver have pledged that by 2020 Vancouver will be the world’s greenest city. Residents and civic leaders are making a strong start: Vancouver is already Canada’s greenest city, has the smallest per capita carbon footprint of any city in North America and is an industry-recognized front runner in green building, planning and technology. Drawing 90 percent of its power from renewable sources, Vancouver is a leader in hydroelectric power and is charting a course to use wind, solar, wave and tidal energy to significantly reduce fossil-fuel use. Most importantly, residents can freely enjoy the city’s sprawling green space with 200 parks and more than 18 miles of waterfront. Determined to address and rectify environmental challenges while creating green jobs and strengthening the community, the City of Vancouver has reached significant milestones and created environmentally friendly alternatives for nearly every facet of residents’ and visitors’ day-to-day living. Perhaps the best way to appreciate Vancouver’s leading role in creating globe-wide environmental growth for the future is a snapshot of some of the city’s countless green initiatives:

greenest city 2020: A Citywide pledge

The City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s promise in 2009 that Vancouver will emerge as the world’s greenest city led to a comprehensive action plan that aims to rethink and re-evaluate the way residents and visitors interact with(in) the region. A collaborative effort of thousands of community members, organizations, stakeholders and city staff, the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan incorporates improvements to building design, increased access to nature, cleaner air and water, an emphasis on locally grown ingredients and other lifestyle changes. In addition to the detailed examples in subsections below, the plan includes initiatives such as One Day (providing residents with resources and information to reduce energy use in their everyday lives); Green Streets (highlighting opportunities for residents to volunteer as neighborhood street gardeners); and the Eco Density Charter and Initial Actions (committing the City of Vancouver to making environmental sustainability a primary goal in all planning decisions).


Visitors to Vancouver experience the city’s eco-initiatives right on arrival. Vancouver International Airport (YVR) features a number of green building techniques, such as solar-powered hot water heating systems that have resulted in energy savings of $110,000 per year. The airport’s Energy Reduction Committee implements further energy-reducing initiatives, including econo-mode settings on baggage conveyor belts and carbon dioxide sensors to control heating, ventilation and air conditioning (since it was created in 1999, the committee has saved more than 24 gigawatt hours of electricity). YVR was also Canada’s first airport to install a living wall, standing 18 meters high and home to more than 28,000 plants. Finally, in 2004 the airport introduced a Taxi Incentive Program that licensed 100 hybrid and natural gas-operated taxis to pick up arriving passengers; since its inception, the program has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 8,422 tonnes every year.

Go Green: Transportation 

Vancouver’s commitment to green transportation is exemplified by its growing mass transit system. The original SkyTrain rail line opened in 1985 and, in 2009 – just in time for the 2010 Olympic Games – the Canada Line was added, linking the airport to downtown in a 25-minute trip. The next stage of this eco-minded transit network is the Evergreen Line, scheduled to open in 2016. Alternative modes of eco-transport include one of the world’s largest hybrid taxi fleets, newly expanded bike lanes and an easily walk able downtown core. Car drivers aren’t exempt: the city now requires electric vehicle (EV) charging stations for 20 percent of all parking stalls in new condo buildings.

Also prominent in Vancouver are public corridors called Greenways, which provide pedestrians and cyclists with eco-minded pathways from which to enjoy parks, historic sites, neighborhoods and nature reserves. To date, Vancouver features 65 kilometers of Greenways and approximately 2,100 kilometers of sidewalk by which pedestrians can navigate the city.

Greenpeace and the David Suzuki Foundation: Made in Vancouver

Vancouver’s environmental reputation has been strengthened by a number of globe-affecting campaigns. Greenpeace, for example, is known worldwide for exposing environmental problems and brainstorming solutions to ensure a green future – and it was founded in Vancouver. Forty-one years after it began, Greenpeace now operates in more than 40 countries worldwide and has 2.9 million members. Among its many initiatives, the organization has continued its initial aims to protect biodiversity, prevent pollution, end nuclear threats and promote peace, and has also been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Another local environmental leader is David Suzuki, award-winning scientist and broadcaster who co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation. Suzuki’s lifelong activism to reverse global climate change extends to his internationally known foundation, which works with government, businesses and individuals to conserve the environment through science-based education and policy work. The organization particularly focuses on youth, ensuring that future generations understand the importance of protecting the environment and ecosystems.

With all these initiatives and more in place, and further green projects in the works for the coming years and decades, Vancouver is deeply committed to Green Growth – and well on the way to contributing to a worldwide shift in environmentally-forward travel, tourism and living.

Stay, Shop and Eat Green

A host of Vancouver hotels have been recognized by the global Green Key Eco-Rating Program as exemplifying environmental stewardship. Only a few dozen hotels around the world have achieved the top-level Five Green Keys rating, and four Vancouver hotels are counted among these elite. An additional 22 local hotels have been awarded Four Green Keys, and a number of others are stepping up green initiatives within their individual properties.

Vancouver is also home to a number of boutiques, grocers and other retailers and designers that produce and sell environmentally friendly wares. A sampling of labels known locally as well as internationally include Ethical Bean (sourcing only fair trade and organic coffee beans); Happy Planet (a juice empire connecting urban residents with organic farming techniques); and Mountain Equipment Co-op (active wear made from organically grown and recycled materials).

Seafood is a local dining specialty, but not all dishes are created equally. Pioneered by the Vancouver Aquarium and chefs across the region, the Ocean Wise initiative supports sustainable fishing practices, ensuring that restaurant seafood has been raised, sourced and supplied in an environmentally sound manner. Ocean Wise works directly with local restaurants, markets and suppliers to ensure they have the most current scientific information and helps them make ocean-friendly buying decisions. Consumers are also apprised of eco-friendly options, with the Ocean Wise symbol appearing on menus in restaurants across the city. The City of Vancouver aims to further increase access to local ingredients by ensuring for 2020 that the majority of residents are within a five-minute walk of fresh produce.


The Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC)

The Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC) is a world leader in sustainability practices and has been designated a double LEED Platinum venue by using the latest green technologies to the adoption of green operating practices to being as environmentally sustainable as possible. How has the VCC received it's designation?;

  • The West building (where the congress will be held) has a six-acre living roof - the largest in Canada and the largest non-industrial living roof in North America 
    • It features more than 400,000 indigenous plant and grasses 
    • It is designed to act as an insulator, reducing heat gains in the summer and heat losses in the winter
  • The roof is home to four beehives with European honey bees. The bees help pollinate the plants to the living roof while supplying honey for their kitchen
  • A restored marine habitat is built into the foundation of the West building resulting in improvement of water quality and growth of a large variety of sea life
  • They have an onsite black water treatment plant recycling grey and black water that goes back into their washrooms and which is used for rooftop irrigation 
  • A seawater heating and cooling system is set up to take advantage of the adjacent seawater to produce cooling and heating of the building 
  • Local BC wood products from sustainably-managed forests are used throughout the facility