Simple steps to a greener, more family friendly conference | 17th Conference of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists (IACIS 2022)

Fast facts

Event: 17th Conference of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists (IACIS 2022)

Dates:26 – 30 June 2022

Format: Hybrid

Venue: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC)


Like many face-to-face events in 2021, the 17th International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists Conference (IACIS) was impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. As a result, the Organising Committee (OC) postponed the conference to June 2022 and changed the format to hybrid.

While this new format would see fewer in-person delegates, the OC remained committed to its pledge to improve the environmental sustainability of the conference through easily implemented, budget-friendly initiatives.

The OC also recognised that to ensure the conference remained appealing as an in-person event now and in the future, social sustainability must also be considered by creating a more family friendly event.


The following sustainability initiatives were implemented:

  • The venue, BCEC, was chosen for its high environmental standards. EarthCheck Platinum Certified, BCEC’s sustainability initiatives include solar panels that reduce energy requirements by 40%, and an organic dehydrator that turns food waste into organic fertiliser for community parklands.
  • To avoid satchel bags going unused or ending up in landfill after the conference, they were not provided as part of registration. Instead, delegates were gifted an IACIS-branded Arc Eco Round Wireless Charger made from 50% wheat fibre – a renewable and biodegradable material.
  • Delegate name badges were made from plastic-free, tear-resistant paper.
  • In place of a printed program and other delegate materials, all event information was accessible through a conference mobile app. Delegates could view the program and speaker profiles, download speaker abstracts and view posters from their own devices.
  • Printed signage was reduced by utilising BCEC’s electronic signage. The only printed signage was for directional use, lecterns and the registration desk.
  • Locally sourced gift hampers produced by Queensland company My Dilly Bag were presented to in-person speakers. My Dilly Bag works sustainably with Aboriginal communities that grow and harvest bush tucker ingredients and Aboriginal artisan creators.
  • Accommodation offerings were within walking distance to the conference venue, transport, restaurants and key attractions, reducing carbon emissions.
  • Delegates were encouraged to support an initiative whereby they donated unused hotel toiletries. The donations were collected at the registration desk by charity, Every Little Bit Helps, and added to care packages for people in need.

The following family friendly initiative was implemented:

  • During the planning stages, the program timing was changed to see the first session of the day begin at 11am and finish at 6:30pm each day. While this was initially to ensure virtual delegates in other time zones could live-stream the sessions, it was quickly identified as an opportunity to offer in-person delegates more flexible, family friendly hours, improving inclusivity.


Guided by event management company Arinex, the OC met its pledge to improve the sustainability of the conference.

The new eco-friendly initiatives were well received by in-person delegates and the OC intends on incorporating these changes into future conferences.

Regarding its objective to create a family friendly conference, the change in program timing resulted in strong attendance across all four-days; something that is often a challenge with multi-day conferences that start earlier in the morning. Delegates could attend to family responsibilities such as school drop-offs before joining the conference mid-morning. Timing considerations like this will undoubtedly become more common and well received for future conferences.