ESEB2019 showed the way for environmentally friendly congresses
Academy professor Craig Primmer and a group of evolutionary biologists from the University of Turku arranged the ESEB2019 congress in Turku without compromising the principles of sustainable development. In the application phase, Turku beat Prague and Barcelona for the position of congress city. The six-year marathon culminated in August 2019, as 1,300 evolutionary biologists from 50 countries came to Logomo conference venue in Turku to exchange their thoughts on nature, life, and the world.
The scientific yield of the ESEB2019 congress was of the highest quality. This claim is backed by the feedback survey in which science was number one. The second best thing about the congress, according to the participants, was the food. The catering can say a lot about the environmental friendliness of the event, which Primmer wanted to cherish in his uncompromising way.
‘I’ve often been irritated at congresses for coffee being served in plastic cups and lunch being served in a plastic package. With 1,500 participants at an event, the amount of plastic waste is incredible,’ he says.
Primmer praises event centre Logomo and Sunborn Catering for fluent cooperation. The requirements of using no plastic during the congress and providing mostly vegetarian locally sourced food were taken seriously in the kitchen. China on the table, no plastic, organic food made using local ingredients, and plenty of vegetables. Kitchen manager Kristian Karnell of Sunborn Catering listed the customer’s strict catering requests and got excited. The ESEB Congress would put the kitchen into an entirely new kind of a test.
‘I love a challenge! I did lots of background work on planning the menus, and I believe the result was quite good,’ Karnell notes. His words are too modest, as the catering for the ESEB2019 congress was excellent. The guests who came to Turku praised the taste and quality of the food. ‘One participant said that she had participated in numerous congresses over the span of 30 years, and that she felt what was served at Logomo was by far the best she had gotten,’ Karnell says.
Over a period of six days, the Logomo kitchen prepared approximately 25,000 servings of food. In addition to science, the 1,300 evolutionary biologists from 50 countries enjoyed the clean Finnish flavours and locally sourced food with vegetarian emphasis. A vegan alternative was provided for every meal.
‘Regardless of the large number of eaters, we were able to carry out some beautiful ideas. For example, we used fresh wild herbs picked by a local wild herb expert from the Turku region every day.’