How to make a climate-neutral event work

Andreas Tschas
CEO and Co-Founder
07 December 2021

Glacier's Climate Impact Day

At Glacier, we have been committed to being carbon neutral from the very beginning - not just because we are a climate start-up, but because it is the right thing to do for us as a company and for our planet. That's why we've done everything we can to minimise thecarbon footprint of our Climate Impact Day as much as possible and make it a climate-neutral event.

For this we have received the Austrian Eco-label for Green Meetings. For certification, organisers must meet certain requirements in terms of mobility, venue, accommodation, catering, materials, waste management, social aspects and communication.

The Austrian Eco-label for Green Meetings

Despite all the measures, some emissions remain unavoidable. In our case, these included the mobility of the offline participants, the livestream and the catering. In order to determine these emissions and to find out how we can improve in the future, we calculated thecarbon footprint of the Climate Impact Day. We then offset the unavoidable emissions with high-quality offsets.

Keeping emissions from corporate events as low as possible is definitely a challenge. To help others do so, we share here some insights we gained from organising the Climate Impact Day. We hope this will motivate others to organise their own climate-neutral corporate event - whether it's a customer reception, a multi-day conference or a Christmas party for employees.

How did we reduce thecarbon footprint of Climate Impact Day?

To minimise our carbon emissions, we implemented a number of measures in the areas of mobility, location, materials, waste management and catering. The following three were the most effective:

1. choice of a climate-friendly location:

The Climate Impact Day was broadcast via livestream from the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) Vienna. The museum is not only an impressive historical building. It also has two major climate-relevant advantages:

2. holding a hybrid event:

The action day was held as a hybrid event. Although there was a physical event at the MAK, most of the speakers, experts and companies and their employees were connected via livestream. This considerably reduced the need for mobility and thusCO2 emissions. Above all, people from other parts of Austria and abroad did not have to travel to the event and thus avoided unnecessary journeys.

3. vegetarian food at the venue:

o Meat consumption is problematic because livestock farming is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The audience at the venue was therefore offered only vegetarian and vegan dishes.

o Many of the participating companies encouraged their employees to make the action day a meat-free day. Many canteens cooked purely vegetarian meals on this day.

4. waste management system:

For the offline event, we used MAK's efficient waste management system. We also called on the participating companies to take measures to reduce and manage waste. To support them in this, they received a guide with detailed information from us.

To limit the amount of waste generated by the offline event, we used a sustainable stage design. The stage was built with paper from PaperTown and will be reused for the next edition of our event.

Photo: Tim Dornaus

What was the actual carbon footprint of Climate Impact Day?

Green Meeting certification alone was not enough for us. It was also important for us to know thecarbon footprint of our event and to assess the impact of our reduction measures. With this, we wanted to compensate for unavoidable emissions and further reduce our emissions at the next event.

To calculate thecarbon footprint of the action day, we set four steps:

  1. Identify the relevant data
  2. Collecting the required data
  3. Calculating the footprint
  4. Interpretation of the data

If we look at the relevant activities, taking into account the emissions of the Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 categories, Climate Impact Day 2021 generated less than one tonne ofCO2 emissions. In total, the event generated 970 kilograms ofCO2.

If you are not familiar with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol's scopes, you can find more information here.

To continuously improve thecarbon footprint of our events, we have analysed where the emissions come from:

The venue and mobility accounted for the largest share of thecarbon footprint. This is perhaps surprising when you consider that it was a hybrid event that took place at a climate-conscious location. But: How big would ourcarbon footprint have been if the action day had taken place without any reduction measures and completely offline? If all speakers had been on site and we had dispensed with video streaming and offered meat meals to our audience, the carbon footprint of the event would have been four times as high - a significant difference.

Offsetting the remaining emissions

Because we want to be climate neutral, we have offset our remaining emissions with high-quality offsets. We also decided to overcompensate the emissions of our event by 20%. In total, we bought 1.2 tonnes of offsets, which will benefit the following projects in the portfolio of the provider patch.io:

How do you plan your first climate-neutral event?

Whether internal or external, companies host a number of events every year. If they decide to make them green or climate-neutral events, they not only reduce theircarbon footprint. They also gain an advantage over competitors and impress their own employees.

You want to make your event climate neutral but don't know where to start? We have compiled a list of measures that companies can implement to reduce the climate impact of their events:

1. includeCO2 reduction in the planning of the event:

  • Analyses previous events: Find out where most emissions came from at previous events: Mobility, food, location ...
  • Follow the guidelines of an eco-label: not only can you get your event certified, but you can also learn about reduction measures that make sense for your event. In Austria, the Austrian Eco-label provides such a framework. On an international level, the ISO 20121 - Guideline for Sustainable Events can provide orientation.

Calculate thecarbon footprint of your event:

  • Determine and collect the necessary data: In order to calculate thecarbon footprint of your event, you need to collect the necessary data before and during the event.
  • Identify the main sources of emissions: Calculating thecarbon footprint of your event will help you assess the impact of the reduction measures you have put in place and understand where you should focus in the future.

3. offsets the remaining emissions:

  • Only compensates for those emissions that are actually unavoidable.
  • Buy seriousCO2 certificates : There are many ways to support offset projects. However, only a few of them really mitigate climate change. To be really sure that they are serious projects, make sure that the offset projects are certified according to recognised standards (e.g. PAS2060).

If you want to organise climate-neutral events but are not sure how to implement reduction measures in your company or calculate yourcarbon footprint, Glacier is there for you!

Simply contact us via the website or by mail to hello@glacier.eco.

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