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Sustainability is a main focus in Web Summit 2018


Another year, another edition of one of Europe’s biggest tech conferences. Lisbon’s Web Summit is now putting the focus on an important issue that involves not only the tech industry, but many others as well.

The company behind Web Summit says it has been working closely with the United Nations on achieving the organization’s Sustainable Development Goals for this 2018 edition.

“Not only is it important to place Web Summit at the forefront of the world’s first developments and discoveries, we also need to be at the forefront of finding solutions to the world’s greatest problems. We are proud to announce our commitment to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,” said Paddy Cosgrave, Co-Founder and CEO of Web Summit.

The organizers have made a list of all the reasons why this new edition of Web Summit is the most sustainable yet. Collaboration with partners, speakers, stages and other initiatives are some of the main factors. One example is the introduction of “sustainable catering” by exclusively using biodegradable or recyclable cutlery and crockery. Some 30,000 drink bottles used will also be reusable. Additionally, another partner will use all of the excess food for Lisbon’s most needed citizens.

In the same vein, Web Summit has partnered with Swedish giant IKEA to ensure the used furniture can be repurposed, reused or recycled. A German startup is also collaborating to plant one tree per every attendee—that’s some 70,000 give or take.

More than just green

Efforts for the event will not only go towards the ecologically sustainable, though. Organizers are also committed to other types of sustainability—be it socially or even business related.

Going ecological doesn’t always mean hurting the business. This year, organizers are welcoming a couple of interesting startups that plan to show this. Examples include Compare Your Footprint, the first comprehensive online carbon calculator, and Energi Mine, which uses deep learning and artificial intelligence to trade and manage energy.

Since 2016, Web Summit has been “committed to changing the gender ratio within tech.” This year, organizers plan to continue engaging with the external women in tech communities, boasting 11,000 members to date. The conference has also collaborated on this effort with IBM, who are providing a women in tech lunch at this year’s event, and Booking.com, who are hosting the women in tech lounge, as well as mentor sessions and roundtables.

Finally, Web Summit has placed a lot more focus on improving both their Forum and planet: tech stages to bring leaders in their field together to tackle a number of topics covered in the UN’s SDGs. The content from these stages will be made available to the public afterwards. The event will also host a number of workshops to enhance social and environmental-conscious leadership.