It’s all very well talking about reducing an event’s carbon footprint, but before any organiser can attempt this, they need to understand where their event’s CO2 emissions come from. Let us enlighten you…
Transport is one of the biggest problems as far as carbon dioxide emissions are concerned, with air travel and road travel topping the list of offenders. Walking, cycling and using public transport can hugely reduce an individual’s carbon footprint, but it’s not just your guests you need to think about.
How far are your suppliers traveling and what mode of transport are they going to use?
Where do your caterers source their ingredients from and how are they transported?
It’s unlikely that you’re going to be able to use suppliers who can bring equipment to your venue on public transport or on foot, but the distance they have to travel could greatly increase your event’s carbon footprint. It’s also worth asking all of your suppliers how they try to keep their impact to a minimum. Fuel-efficient vehicles, electric vehicles, using the smallest vehicle possible for the load it’s carrying, driving at the optimum speed… there are lots of ways the impact of unavoidable journeys can be lessened, so don’t be afraid to ask the questions.
Have you considered a hybrid event? It’s part physical and part virtual. It means stretching your content out to audiences all around the globe, while also keeping the face-to-face contact with your local delegates.
Some electricity is produced by solar or wind energy and therefore has a minimal impact on the environment, but the majority is created by burning fossil fuels. Your venue is going to be responsible for the CO2 emissions during your event, so before you make a final decision on where you’re going to host it, speak to the event team about their sustainability policies and carbon emissions targets. Ask them what efforts they take to keep their carbon footprint down.
Waste increases an event’s carbon footprint in several ways. Firstly, the energy used to produce/farm, transport and prepare food that ends up in the bin is colossal. In fact, nearly a third of all food gets thrown away. Although the greenhouse gases from landfill sites are not measured, it’s widely accepted that they contribute to carbon emissions, and even recycling isn’t entirely neutral as far as your carbon footprint goes. The best course of action is to do everything you can to keep waste to an absolute minimum wherever possible.
Exhibitions, conferences, parties, awards shows… whatever type of event you’re holding, try to eliminate any single use items. It might be graphics for exhibition stands, disposable cups, goodie bags, flowers, decorations… Single use items take energy to produce and will end up in landfill having served their short purpose in life. Investing in products that will live on after your event will help reduce your carbon footprint. Or to go one step further, think about whether or not you could do without the product entirely. Do your guests really need another biro?
The destruction of the rainforests for paper production and grazing cattle is one of the most well-known environmental issues. Luckily, going paperless for your event is an easy change to make, so long as you prepare for it from the off and encourage all of your guests/exhibitors/suppliers to do the same. Electronic name badges and registration are a great start and building an event app with all the directions, schedules, talk notes etc will not only help the planet, but make life easier for your guests too.
Here at W12 Conferences, we take our environmental responsibilities seriously, and are working towards becoming one of the greenest venues in London. Find out more about what we do to minimise our impact on the planet, like offering live streaming for all of our events, by calling our team on +44 (0)20 3313 1606 or by visiting this page on our website.