Sustainability & Social Impact

The Water Environment Federation aspires to reduce our environmental impact and to make positive contributions to the communities where we host WEFTEC. We are committed to providing the best experience possible for all WEFTEC participants.

Our Goals

  • Move toward a Zero-Waste Event
  • Advance Stakeholder Education & Engagement
  • Improve Sustainable Sourcing
  • Improve Event Overall Social Impact
  • Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Improve Water Management Practices


These goals are achieved through effort and cooperation by many WEFTEC attendees, exhibitors, volunteers, vendors, and staff, led by the WEFTEC Green Team and focused on four primary areas.


WEFTEC seeks to drive event sustainability, slash our climate footprint, and empower attendees to embrace green practices.

Explore Sustainability & Act

Health & Well-Being

Dive into WEFTEC's Health and Well-Being initiatives, featuring wellness, movement, and mindfulness to reduce stress and enhance overall health during the conference.

Health & Well-Being Activities

Giving Back & Community Service

Join us in giving back through impactful community service through the educational Water Palooza, green infrastructure projects, and more to enhance the environmental and social well-being of WEFTEC host cities.

Give Back

DE&I Programs

Discover our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion with special programs and events focusing on equitable utility practices, environmental justice, and indigenous knowledge.

Learn About DE&I Events

WEFTEC Green Team

This cross-organizational group coordinates with all of WEFTEC's partners and participants to create the sustainability & social impact offerings.

  • Stephanie Jones, Managing Director, Professional Development and Event Strategy
  • Deana Gissendanner, Director, Conference and Event Management
  • Laura Helm, Director, Exhibition Operations
  • Catherine Murphy, Meetings Manager

DE&I Programs

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) maintains diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) as core principles of our organization’s mission. Our members, Board of Trustees (BOT), volunteer leaders, and staff — together and individually — share the responsibility to uphold these principles. We celebrate these principles at WEFTEC in several ways.

Technical Program

Our programming continuously evolves to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion, covering topics from equitable utility practices to environmental justice and the incorporation of indigenous knowledge.

Stay tuned for the 2024 content updates, which will further expand on these themes and introduce new opportunities for engagement and learning.

Affinity Group Breakfast Series

The Affinity Group Breakfast Series furthers WEF's efforts to create a sense of community and a forum to advocate for change that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion. They bring together people who share a common identity and provide a safe space to discuss issues facing the group.

In 2023, WEFTEC included the Asian and Pasifika Cultures in Water Breakfast, Black in Water Breakfast, Latino & Hispanic in Water Breakfast, and LGBTQIA+ in Water Breakfast. (Note: Participation is limited to individuals who identify with the specific groups. There is no cost to participate but registration is required.)
Sponsored by

Sustainability Initiatives

Pioneering Sustainability: WEFTEC's Journey Towards a Greener Future

Events have significant environmental impacts and WEF is committed to minimizing WEFTEC’s impacts both globally and locally. We are taking steps to better measure our climate footprint; taking actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible; and compensating for unavoidable emissions.

In 2023, WEF started the process of certifying WEFTEC as a sustainable event using the Events Industry Council (EIC) Sustainable Event Standards. The eight (8) EIC Sustainable Event Standards assess events and event suppliers on a wide range of criteria in support of environmental and social responsibility.

Following WEFTEC 2023, WEFTEC received the Gold certification. This award acknowledges our commitment to sustainable event management. WEF remains dedicated to advancing further sustainability initiatives related to WEFTEC.

Ways You Can Reduce Environmental Impacts

Conferences are key for learning and networking but also impact the environment through travel and waste. It's essential to seek sustainable solutions. Here are some ways that you can reduce the environmental impact of participation:

  • Travel sustainably: Use the WEFTEC Shuttle, public transport, or walk to the venue. If you fly to WEFTEC, seek out a carbon offset program to offset flight emissions.
  • Bring reusable items: Bring a refillable water bottle, a reusable coffee cup, and a tote bag to avoid using disposable items.
  • Reduce paper waste: Access conference materials digitally; if printing is necessary, use double-sided printing and recycle.
  • Be mindful of energy use: Turn off lights and electronics when not in use and unplug chargers when they're not in use.
  • Choose eco-friendly accommodations: Stay at hotels that offer linen and towel reuse programs and have a sustainability policy.

Your small changes can help reduce WEFTEC's environmental footprint.

Giving Back & Community Service

WEF values its WEFTEC host cities and seeks to improve them through volunteer projects. WEFTEC participants contribute their time, skills, and energy to support and uplift the host city's communities. They engage in activities that range from environmental cleanups and restoration efforts to educational programs and more. Their dedication and commitment foster a sense of collaboration and community spirit at WEFTEC and within the host city.

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Water Palooza

Water Palooza is a day-long education fair hosted at an elementary school, typically held the Friday before WEFTEC.

The goal of Water Palooza is to engage students in hands-on and demonstrative activities that promote the value of water and encourage students to become stewards of their water environment. At the event, students travel in small groups to various stations to learn about the local water environment, the value of water, initiatives in their community, and how to save water and protect the environment at home.

More about Waterpalooza

Community Service Project

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Held the Saturday before WEFTEC since 2008, projects typically involve installing green infrastructure to help manage stormwater and improve the local water environment (via rain gardens, bioswales, etc.). The project also helps educate the community about the value of water.

For 2023, volunteers built a rain garden at the Ole A. Thorp Elementary Scholastic Academy in Chicago.

More on the Service Project

Health & Well-Being

WEF recognizes that attending conferences often involves long hours of sitting and being indoors, which can negatively affect physical health. To avoid this, we incorporate wellness activities into WEFTEC to encourage participants to move their bodies and engage in other behaviors to support overall health and well-being.

Past activities have included:

  • The Mindfulness Lounge: The lounge offers a unique retreat for rejuvenation, where meditation lowers stress and boosts creativity, happiness, and productivity, making it a transformative experience for professionals.
  • Zen Yoga: Energize your morning at WEFTEC with this session intended to calm the mind, realign the body, and prepare you for the day ahead.
  • The WEFTEC Wellness Challenge: By walking, engaging in activities, and acquiring new knowledge, participants earn points in this competitive, interactive event, with the opportunity to win prizes for meeting specific goals and ascending the leaderboard.

Stay tuned for the
2024 Health & Well-Being Offerings


97th Annual
Technical Exhibition & Conference

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
New Orleans, Louisiana USA

Conference: October 5 - 9, 2024
Exhibition: October 7 - 9, 2024