3 real things you can do to achieve net zero for your events

August 30, 2021

We have all heard the tales. How the shift to virtual made an immediate and tangible difference in climate impact over the last two years. Dolphins in the canals of Venice, remarkably cleaner air quality all over the world and many more. Yet still, as we have all seen over the summer of 2021, impacts of climate change have been ramping up with wild fires so large, the smoke crossed an entire continent to effect cities thousands of miles away and storms growing in intensity across the globe.

We can implement three basic strategies and actions that can start to make an enormous impact on sustainability.

In a recent study by WSP commissioned by 6Connex, it was calculated that virtual events reduced the carbon foot print of associated meetings by over 10,000 tons, or the equivalent of 2800 cars on the road. We should take this revelation and take it further into the emergence of hybrid formats for a real, material change to the sustainability of our events in the future.

Here are three steps to reduce your carbon impact.

Determine your Impact

The first step in creating a real impact on your climate change strategy is determining what impact you have. That starts with understanding how much carbon emissions your event or convention generate.  Use the My Climate Tool online Calculator, created by Swiss Tools, to easily calculate your estimated carbon impact. This interactive calculator allows you to input the size and breadth fo your event and see exactly what your foot print will be.

Design More Responsible Forms of Production

Focus on saving time and cost with lower impact technologies like LED lighting, reducing capacities at local events and meaningful off-sets. When designing events, we make sure to do a power and resource analysis to make sure we are reducing our power requirements. Some venues have prioritized greener forms of energy, integrating solar and renewable energy delivery. A little research into potential destinations and asking specific questions of your venue will allow you to make some climate focussed decisions. Ask questions about the technology used and how the power is generated in the area. Is it coal fired or hydro electric? There is a massive difference in the carbon output of both systems.

Use Hybrid Formats to Deliver Your Content.

One of the biggest contributors to the carbon emissions of events has historically been air travel and food waste. In a typical thousand person event in a destination city, attendees travelling in via commercial air flights contributes more than 10,000 tons of carbon or the equivalent of 2800 cars on the road, per day. By shifting to more regional event models, connecting them via broadcast and virtual platforms, you can greatly off set that, reducing your emissions significantly.

Additionally, regional hybrid events can allow organizers to emphasize local food options tied to the overall theme and location, reducing waste, transport and costs.

Making a real and measurable impact on the emissions of events will take some meaningful steps to understand what our impact is and how we can reduce and off set carbon emissions for each of our events. Two years of virtual events are not going to make up for what needs to be done to safeguard the future for our families and the globe. The event and meeting industry has a unique opportunity to make real and material impact with responsible forms of production.

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