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Mice Asia Net : January 2009
green events story by Joel Fleming creating low carbon events The rapid rise in awareness about global warming has put the pressure on the MiCe market to become environmentally sustainable. Climate Friendly’s Joel Fleming explains how. primary categories • Venue emissions – The on-site emissions of the event itself from energy, food and waste. • Travel emissions – The travel emissions of the participants, primarily the air travel. Typically some 90 per cent of event emissions come from the attendees’ air travel. D Venue solutions Venues can cut their emissions by having a thorough energy efficiency review and installing energy saving equipment; by using local food and recycled materials; and by providing easy access to “low carbon transport” options for delegates such as bus, train and shared shuttle services. One key element for a venue is where their energy comes from. Is it a low carbon source of energy like wind, solar or gas power, or is it coal power? Most venues use grid supplied electricity which is generally fossil fuel based and very greenhouse intensive. One solution in this situation is for the venue to buy carbon offsets which help support renewable energy projects in the region. These green power projects helps “green the power grid” and cut the emissions from the electricity sector. Travel solutions The biggest component of event emissions is the air travel of the participants, and there are options to reduce these emissions. Choosing the event location to create the least emissions is one scenario. Each event has its own participant list and their points of origin. Depending on this pattern of origin, the choice of venue location can have a major effect on travel emissions. Given an estimated profile of attendees and a choice of venues, it is relatively easy to choose a venue which minimises total distance travelled by participants. This then cuts the overall air travel emissions of the event. Flying low carbon aircraft is another option. Certain new aircraft such as the Airbus A380 use less fuel per passenger. “In seat/mile terms we achieve overall a 20 per cent better fuel burn than our 747-400s,” eveloping an understanding of the causes of emissions and forming an integrated strategy is the key to minimising emissions. Event-related emissions can be broken into two said Singapore Airlines CEO Chew Choong Seng recently. This translates directly into lower event participant emissions whenever delegates choose to fly on an A380 or soon the Boeing 787. Choosing quality carbon offsets is another solution. Event organisers can arrange for delegate air travel to be offset by renewable energy and projects to halt deforestation. This offsets the participant emissions and helps build the solutions we need globally to address our global warming situation. For simplicity, this can be built into the delegate attendance pricing. In choosing a carbon offset provider there are some important considerations to ensure that the offsets create real and meaningful emission savings. 1. Are the projects quality verified projects which address the fundamental causes of global warming – renewable energy projects and projects that halt tropical deforestation? 2. Does the provider fully account for the non-CO2 effects of air travel? Some providers and airlines ignore the non-CO2 effects of air travel and underestimate the full impact of flying. 3. Is the provider a member of the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance and comply with the ICROA Code of Best Practice? Holistic Strategy In conclusion, an integrated low carbon strategy can produce large emission cuts to ground based and travel components of events. Key strategies are: • Choose a low carbon energy-efficient venue, a venue which either runs on green energy or one that supports quality projects to offset their emissions. • Choose an event location which creates the lowest average flying distance for attendees. • Fly on the new low carbon aircraft, like the Airbus A380. • Include flight offsets as part of the conference package price for delegate air travel. Climate Friendly is one of the world’s leading carbon offset providers and was rated number 1 offset provider in Australia by Carbon Offset Watch, and is a founding member of The International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance. Visit www.climatefriendly.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details. miceAsia.net 33