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GDC Loves the Planet! A Look at Our Ongoing Sustainability Efforts

The Game Developers Conference, and our parent company Informa Tech, are committed to growing and sustaining a positive environmental impact within the game dev community. For Earth Day 2023, we wanted to highlight some of our programs, partnerships, and plans for reducing our carbon footprint and raising awareness about climate issues—both in and around the industry. 

For years, the GDC team has taken steps to make sure we're reducing the event's carbon footprint and bringing attention to climate change issues to produce a more sustainable event. This includes partnering with programs like the Playing for the Planet Climate Check and hosting an annual Exhibitor Sustainability Survey for our exhibitors (more details below).

Right now, the Game Developers Conference is readying its 2023 GDC Showcase, an all-virtual event designed to be global, accessible, and sustainable. It's part of Informa's ongoing effort to achieve Net Zero and become 100% carbon neutral by 2025. Head here for more on Informa Tech's sustainability committment. For more on GDC's Diversity & Inclusion work, head here. 

Register for GDC Showcase Here—Price Increases After April 27!

GDC 2023 implemented several new sustainability initiatives and improved on existing ones for the in-person event. These included the debut of our complimentary Bike Valet, thanks to a partnership with the San Francisco Bike Coalition. GDC 2023 also partnered with the Arsht-Rock Gaming Team to host the Climate Resilience Through Game Technologies Community Space, which connected game developers with life-saving interventions and resources, building community resilience to global climate change. Here are a few more of our inititatives from GDC 2023: 

  • Renewable Energy Commitment: The Game Developers Conference is powered by renewable energy, which is a step towards attaining our goal of Net Zero. Energy efficient lighting and equipment was used throughout the event.
  • Digital Tote Bags and Guides: GDC switched to digital event guides to reduce paper use—the conference only has digital session signs and conference agenda-at-a-glance. In addition, the contents of a normal GDC promotional tote bag were recreated in an exclusively digital format

GDC 2023 hosted a variety of talks and workshops about climate issues and sustainability that are available to watch for free on GDC Vault (click the provided links to view), including Developing 'Terra Nil': A Strategy Game About Nature, Not Expansion, Teaching Sustainability and Game Design: From the Low-Hanging Fruits to the Root of the Problemand Climate Games: The Developer's Field Guide (which is also available for free on YouTube). These talks demonstrate how game developers are addressing the issue, and they serve as resources for you to learn how you can support the cause too.

The event also hosted the session Playing for the Planet Climate Check: 10 Steps to Climate Leadership, which encourages studios and game dev teams to explore what are the most effective actions we can all take to protect the planet. This includes the Playing for the Planet Climate Check, a short survey where you can learn where to start, get ideas on what more you can do, and then at the end of the check have access to UN backed resources to help you on your journey. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming and hard to know where to begin, and Playing for the Planet is here to help. We highly recommend all game dev teams participate. 

Finally, we invited our GDC 2023 exhibitors to participate in the Exhibitor Sustainability Survey, which gauges their committment to GDC's and Informa Tech's ongoing sustainability efforts. In total, 49 exhibitors participated in this year's survey, and here are the results: 

  • 100% confirmed they would train all booth staff on sustainable booth operations, including: waste management, nightly shut-down plans, post-event donations, and the sustainable attributes of the booth—and communicate/share GDC's sustainability objectives with staff.
  • 98% committed to minimizing packaging of all booth shipments and reusing exhibit crate(s) and pallets for shipping booth back.
  • 98% committed to having all electronic equipment turned off or put to "sleep-mode" at the close of each night—unless perishable goods were at risk, or unless the power-up would not reload content correctly.
  • 94% committed to informing and requesting that drivers adhere to no-idling policy in the marshalling yard and POV lots.
  • 90% committed to eliminating polystyrene (i.e. packing peanuts, #6 or foam plastic) from booth shipping and operations.
  • 80% committed to having all staff use reusable water bottles.
  • 75% committed to using compostable and/or recyclable service-ware for all samples (appropriate collection bins for collection of the used service-ware was provided for attendees to use).

These efforts are ongoing and evolving; we are committed to actively deepening our relationships and support. We hope you’ll join us in our goal of having a positive environmental impact on both the communities and industries we work within.

Sign Up for All-Virtual GDC Showcase Here

The all-virtual GDC Showcase is happening this June 27-29! For more information, be sure to visit our website and follow the #GDCShowcase hashtag on social media.

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