There are many matters associated with today’s public events or conferences. Most organisers will take into account metrics such as logistics, the location and the monetary cost. However, it is also important to mention the environmental impact that a particular event may have. This is often referred to as its carbon footprint. A growing number of firms are now developing sustainable methods, and these policies can have a very real influence on the perception of the event as well as the environment as a whole. What are some of the advantages of adopting this approach and what steps can be taken to leverage the power of a climate-friendly conference?
Counting the Environmental Costs
Many studies have found that the primary source of carbon emissions is a result of travelling to and from the event in question. Examples here can include airline fuel as well as the energy needed to arrive at and from the conference (such as public transportation or a rental vehicle). Researchers will often measure this variable regarding metric tonnes of carbon per person. Therefore, it is clear that conferences with a higher number of attendees will naturally be associated with a larger carbon footprint. How can an event embrace a more sustainable edge and what are a handful of practices that will ensure a smooth transition?
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Measuring the Carbon Impact of the Event
To take the appropriate action, it is first necessary to calculate how much carbon emissions are associated with the conference. A general overview can be provided using online resources such as www.carbonfootprint.com. However, keep in mind that this will only provide an approximation. It is also wise to take into account ancillary emission variables such as the distances travelled to and from the venue and those associated with the event (the use of electricity, the type of food and even the cost of paper products).
Creating a Climate-Friendly Conference
Once a clear appreciation of the footprint has been obtained, it is necessary to develop targeted strategies. One alternative is to provide remote viewing options such as a webinar or a live-streamed event. Participants will no longer be required to travel to the physical destination. Yet, the most important downside of this alternative is obvious: delegates can no longer network and discuss face-to-face with their colleagues what we consider one of the true values of a physical conference. Another option is to take into account the location of the conference. Selecting a city that is close to the majority of participants or one that can be reached by direct flights or even by train will help to reduce the aggregate carbon emissions associated with airline travel.
Regarding the venue itself, selecting green-friendly infrastructure is likewise a powerful strategy. The benefits of a climate-friendly conference can be enhanced by choosing locations that are associated with renewable sources of energy such as solar or wind power. These are sometimes known as LEED-certified buildings, and once again, they can reduce emissions by well over 30 percent. Purchasing local rental equipment as opposed to long-distance haulage will also cut back on the carbon expenditure.
Consulting with a carbon-offset specialist is another viable option. This involves selling credits associated with greenhouse gas emissions that can be purchased by another party. In other words, the provider will sell these credits directly to the organiser after carefully evaluating the environmental impact of the event. This will help to increase levels of organisational and/or corporate accountability. You can even consider to offer these compensations actively to the participants and make them an active part of your conference’s sustainability efforts.
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Finally, it is important to stress the benefits of a climate-friendly conference to all attendees. Not only will this raise environmental awareness, but also is it a powerful tool which can be added to an existing marketing campaign. Many organisations have benefited from such branding in the past, and of course, this type of positive publicity cannot be overstated.
One Step at a Time
Therefore, it is clear that there are many methods to embrace the concept of a climate-friendly conference. By accurately estimating the projected carbon footprint, it is possible to limit emissions while simultaneously cutting down on travel costs substantially. However, this is only a brief overview, and an in-depth analysis is often required to achieve the desired results. To learn how these approaches can be directly applied towards your conference, please speak with one of our representatives for more information.
Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering customised solutions. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings including the management of hotel rooms and the strategic consultancy. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 33 events with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations and corporations.
If you wish to receive additional information about Congrex Switzerland, please feel free to contact us.