Sustainability & Impact | American Water Works Association

Transforming our Future - Sustainability at ACE24 and beyond

The American Water Works Association's Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE) is strengthening our focus on sustainability. As more events prioritize planet-friendly practices, we can collectively shift the entire industry towards a greener future. We are committed to improving ACE's economic, environmental and social impacts and enhancing elements that further align with our Water2050 goals.

So, with over 10,000 attendees gathering in Anaheim this June, ACE24 aims to lead by example and showcase sustainability in action.

ACE has formalized many established best practices:

  • Selecting ACE venues with LEED certifications
  • Limiting bottled water and one time use plastics, like badge holders
  • Turning off lights and equipment overnight and when not in use
  • Creating evergreen signage that is reused annually
  • Responsible ordering practices: considering shipping, production, and materials
  • Smart F&B: custom menus and requesting composable or reusable serviceware
  • Reducing printed materials
  • DEI and workforce programing
  • Promoting local transportation networks
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ACE24 enhancements; new actions we’re prioritizing this year to make progress toward our goals:

  • Event Industry Council’s Sustainability and Social Impact Foundations: we have signed onto the Principles for Sustainable Events and expressed our intent to pursue Sustainable Event Standards assessment and event certification in 2025.


  • Offsetting our Footprint: We are partnering with Alcymate to provide a carbon offset program allowing our participants to offset travel to/from the show.


  • Conscious waste reduction efforts, including donation program: Exhibit materials such as furniture, household items, and school supplies will be diverted from the landfill and donated to the local community through a partnership with Honeycomb Strategies, Freeman, and the Anaheim Convention Center.
  • Reusables: Look for water refill stations throughout the convention center to allow for easy water refill. The conference bags are made from 100% recycled materials and will make great reusable shopping bags once you return home. 
  • Publishing Vendor Procurement and Sustainability Guides: We have provided AWWA staff and exhibitors with best practices to reduce the environmental impact of the expo when acquiring event giveaways.
  • Signage: We have audited our signage needs, selected recyclable substrates, are adding more digital options and incorporating zero-waste TerraCycle collection boxes.
  • Diversity in Water - Curated by our Diversity and Member Inclusion Committee (DMIC): we are further spotlighting diverse voices within our program including DEI initiatives and workforce strategies.
  • Accessibility for All: we have taken steps to make the conference welcoming and accessible. If you require mobility accommodations, scooters are available onsite at the info booth. 
  • Decompression Lounge: Visit this dedicated cell-phone free space on the second floor of the ACC to de-stress and recharge. 

AWWA is accomplishing this goal with the help of our exhibitors, vendors, and venues.
Small Steps = Big Impact.

While one person's actions may seem small, together we can make a real difference.
By following a few simple tips during your time at ACE24, you can reduce your personal footprint and create positive ripples.

How Exhibitors can help:
Participate in our 2024 Exhibitor Sustainability Survey.

Thank you to the following companies that have completed the survey.
Add your logo now by submitting your response today!

How all can help:

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Properly sort any waste into designated bins. Recycling might feel trivial, but it keeps tons of material out of landfills. The Anaheim Convention Center provides well marked bins for single stream recycling.

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Bring a reusable water bottle or coffee mug. Forgo single-use cups and utensils when possible. 

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Moderate your portions when grabbing meals and snacks. Taking only what you'll realistically eat reduces food waste. Enjoy plant-based options when available. 

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Conserve Resources: Turn off lights and electronics when not in use. Participate in your hotel linen reuse programs rather than having housekeeping refresh your sheets and towels every day. 

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Expanding perspectives helps build a richer community. Attend sessions featuring speakers from different backgrounds than your own. 

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Utilize the AWWA Event Mobile App and other electronic materials. This minimizes the need for printed materials. 

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Health and Wellbeing: Join Water Equation on Monday June 10 for the annual WE RACE for Water. AWWA is also hosting a quiet room offering a cell-phone free space to take a break from our busy program. 

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Use local/group transportation in Anaheim, including the ART EVE; these all-electric vehicles assist with lowering emissions and can save you money. 

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Offset carbon emissions. A relatively small contribution goes towards environmental projects that help counterbalance the impact of travel.

Voluntary Carbon Offset Program

This initiative aims to reduce the carbon footprint associated with conference activities. Almost all event activities - travel, hotel, giveaways, turning on lights, food & beverage creation and consumption - produce carbon emissions of one kind or other. This voluntary ACE24 initiative is just one part of our path to greater environmental responsibility.

There is no cost to any event participant to explore their individual footprint and look at offset options.

Here's how it works:

  1. Gather your ACE travel details including flight, hotel, and ground transportation – there is currently no function to “reset” your input information once submitted. 
  2. Visit our ACE Custom Dashboard to input your ACE24 travel details 
  3. The dashboard will measure your emissions and convert them into easy-to-understand units and share some interesting perspective on measurement equivalents. 
  4. You can then choose to voluntarily offset your carbon footprint by supporting an environmental project.  
  5. If a purchase is made, ACE24 will be credited for your offset contribution

We're encouraging everyone to explore their carbon footprint and offsetting options. When we unite in these efforts, our collective impact is greater.

Thank you!

Our ACE24 carbon footprint calculation and offset program is supported complimentarily by Alcymate, a Colorado-Based net-zero solutions provider.

Learn more!

All this positive change occurs in partnership with:

Water EquationAWWA’s philanthropic arm, provides funding for workforce advancements, scholarships, students, young professionals, and Community Engineering Corps. WE is committed to fulfilling the critical need to ensure that the water sector has the necessary workforce to provide clean and safe water to communities in North America. Among many positive actions, WE hosts an annual running and walking event at ACE.

Honeycomb Strategies provides sustainability expertise for trade shows, conferences, convention centers, arenas, and organizations to identify sustainable solutions, engage stakeholders, develop data management systems, and implement programs to measure impact so that events can thrive. As a women-owned business and accredited B Corporation, Honeycomb Strategies aims to inspire people to see sustainability as both an opportunity and responsibility.

Freeman has a commitment to net zero carbon by 2050, and by 2030 to reduce GHG emissions by 50%. With both an ISO 14001 and ISO 20121 certification, Freeman is there to help guide you through sustainable offerings while at ACE. Be sure to consult with Freeman on your expo and booth materials and logistics. 

The Anaheim Convention Center ACC was certified LEED Silver by the U.S. Green Building Council In 2016, as one of the largest convention centers in North America to earn this prestigious distinction. With ACC-wide efforts, 86 percent of ongoing consumable purchases, 95 percent of electronic purchases and 78 percent of cleaning product purchases meet strict LEED guidelines for sustainability.