How to Make Carbon-Neutral Events: A Guide to Sustainable Event Planning

Research indicates that the events industry’s annual carbon footprint is responsible for over 10% of global CO2 emissions.

The global events industry has witnessed exponential growth in recent decades, contributing significantly to tourism, economic development, and collaborative efforts. While events play a crucial role in addressing climate change by encouraging collaboration for innovative solutions, they also pose a considerable threat to the environment. Just take COP28 for example, while the gathering of world leaders is necessary, this year’s conference was the biggest ever, attracting over 84,000 attendees.

Research indicates that the events industry’s annual carbon footprint is responsible for over 10% of global CO2 emissions, a figure equivalent to the entire yearly emissions of the United States.

As the trillion-dollar events industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, there is an urgent need for sustainable practices to mitigate its impact on climate change. Governments, companies, and even sporting federations are recognizing this challenge and are increasingly committing to carbon neutrality. Let’s explore some of the ways you can make a difference by organizing a carbon-neutral event.


Step 1: Identify and Quantify Emission Sources

To embark on the path to carbon neutrality, organizers must first identify the major contributors to their event’s carbon footprint. Travel, waste, food, accommodation, and venue are the primary areas where emissions occur.

Travel:
Travel constitutes a significant portion, ranging from 70% to 90% of an event’s carbon emissions.

Attendees’ impact can vary from 200 kg to 1000 kg of CO2 per day, depending on the extent of travel.
Consider all forms of travel, including flights, taxis, buses, trains, etc.

Waste:
Conferences generate around 1.89 kg of waste per attendee per day.

While efforts to reduce plastic and adopt biodegradable materials are commendable, they often fall short of addressing the broader impact.

Food:
Food production contributes nearly 30% to global greenhouse gas emissions.

The type and source of food, especially meat-heavy diets, significantly impact the event’s carbon footprint.

Accommodation:
Multi-day events involve attendees staying overnight, contributing to the overall carbon footprint.

Larger and higher-rated hotels tend to have a higher carbon footprint.

Venue:
Energy consumption for powering the venue accounts for about 4% of the total event footprint.
ClimateTrade customers have access to a powerful events calculator giving them complete control and visibility over the variables influencing their event’s carbon footprint.

Built in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, our calculator provides accurate measurements, enabling organizers to make informed decisions and take meaningful actions towards reducing environmental impact.

Step 2: Develop a Mitigation Plan

Once emission hotspots are identified, organizers can implement strategies to reduce their event’s carbon footprint.

Hybrid Model: Adopt a hybrid model to reduce the reliance on extensive travel. Hybrid events not only cut carbon emissions but also broaden the event’s reach.

Sustainable Practices:
Invite local guests to reduce travel. You can also encourage the use of eco-friendly transportation.
Source local and serve vegetarian food and opt for venues using renewable energy.

Step 3: Offset Unavoidable Emissions

For emissions that cannot be completely eliminated, offsetting through credible carbon offset projects becomes crucial. Our climate action Marketplace offers over 200 high-quality and verifiable carbon offsetting and biodiversity projects to cover those unavoidable emissions that occurred as a result of your event.

Carbon Offsetting:
Carbon offsetting events emissions that cannot be avoided provides a vital means to neutralize the environmental impact, offering a tangible and immediate contribution to global sustainability initiatives and showcasing a commitment to responsible event management.

 

Making Carbon Neutral Events with ClimateTrade’s Carbon Footprint Calculator

ClimateTrade offers a comprehensive event calculator, aligning with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, to empower companies and individuals in the journey towards carbon-neutral events. Here’s how it works: 

Calculate Carbon Footprint:
Use ClimateTrade’s event calculator covering transportation, catering, and more.
Follow the Greenhouse Gas Protocol for accurate measurements.

Choose Sustainable Projects:
Select projects from ClimateTrade’s marketplace, including reforestation and biodiversity protection.
Support local communities and environmental initiatives.

Spread the Word:
Share carbon-neutral achievements with stakeholders and media.
Inspire others to embrace sustainability in their events.

Generate a Lasting Impact:
Support sustainable projects to ensure continuous reinvestment in environmental initiatives.
Foster positive change and contribute to a sustainable future.

By utilizing tools like ClimateTrade’s Event Calculator, companies and individuals can take informed actions to reduce their environmental impact and work towards achieving carbon-neutral events.

The events industry can play a transformative role in climate action by adopting sustainable practices, reducing emissions, and actively contributing to global initiatives. Through calculated steps, strategic partnerships, and the embrace of innovative tools, the events industry can navigate the path to a greener, more sustainable future.

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