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Baptists prepare Green Plan for South African congress

Image courtesy of http://www.covenantoflove.netThe Baptist World Alliance (BWA) has prepared a Green Plan to guide its environmental practices before and during the 21st Baptist World Congress to be held in Durban, South Africa, from July 22-26, 2015.

In a July 2012 resolution passed by the BWA General Council in Santiago, Chile, the BWA was encouraged "to develop an equitable plan to offset the carbon footprint of the Annual Gathering and to recommend ways to reduce the carbon footprint of all Baptist World Alliance business meetings."

Also, the international umbrella organization for Baptists aims to adhere to the standards outlined in the Green Event Guideline: Hosting Green Events in Durban, in order to integrate sustainability practices before, during and after the congress. These include waste minimization, environmental efficiency, water conservation, social development and local economic development.

Main elements of the BWA plan include recycling, transportation and digital technology.

Name badges and lanyards (the rope or cord that comes with the name badge) issued during the congress will be collected at the end of the event and recycled. At the conclusion of the congress, receptacles will be provided for those who wish to recycle the thousands of program and report books that are being produced for the event.

Monetary and environmental costs of shipping will be reduced by the BWA by printing most of the congress materials, including the program and report books, as well as brochures, in South Africa.   Transportation such as shipping by air or sea is generally regarded as one of the biggest causes of carbon emissions.

The BWA is exploring the possibility of providing bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation for conference participants to use from the venue to their accommodations.

The chief means of registration for the South African meetings is online through the BWA website at This results in reducing the use of paper and mailing. The program and report books will be available digitally in eBook and pdf formats in an attempt to reduce the number of printed copies.

The BWA is forgoing the printing of a daily newspaper as has been the custom in past congresses and will instead rely more heavily on the use of social media and electronic press releases to provide updates and inform participants attending the meetings. There will be simultaneous updates on the BWA Twitter account using #BaptistCongress15 as well as posting to its Facebook group page.

Persons are encouraged to start following the BWA Twitter handle @TheBWA and to utilize the hashtag #BaptistCongress15 when they share their own plans for the congress.

In addition, the BWA will take advantage of opportunities offered by the convention center, such as the use of biodegradable cutlery and food containers in its dining areas; move away from using tablecloths; and using tap water-filled jugs and water dispensers instead of bottled water.

Early bird registration at discounted rates for the congress ends on November 30, 2014. To take advantage of this discount, register at

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© November 25, 2014