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Tackling Carbon Emissions from Event Venues

It is hard to deny the importance of sustainability in today's world. All sectors are driving the concept at the global, national, and local levels, as shown in several international conferences, including the UN General Assembly and COP27. However, it is essential to note that while forums such as these are stepping stones toward solutions, their organization often are not too environmentally friendly, generating waste and enormous air travel emissions (from attendees' flights). How can these world meetings that promote sustainability, and, indeed, any conference, achieve Net Positive or, at the very least, Carbon Zero status?


As conferences are significant producers of food waste and consumers of nonrenewable energy, organizers should consider utilizing sustainable conference venues. One example is Sand Expo Convention Center in Singapore, which houses an energy-efficient infrastructure and a 360-degree approach to sustainability goals which reduced waste by more than 50%. In another case, Moscone Center in California has become 100% greenhouse gas-free while donating its excess food to charities. On the other side of the world, Melbourne Convention Centre in Australia also practices sustainability by implementing a ban on using and distributing single-use plastic within the facility and replacing straws and water bottles with sustainable alternatives. Lastly, the Edmonton Convention Centre in Canada helps hosts create sustainable events by offering services such as measuring carbon footprints. These event halls successfully contribute to sustainability—ready to be utilized by event organizers worldwide.


When the worldwide audience gathers for an event, the carbon footprint from international flights is substantial. As a result, many airlines have pledged to reach net zero by utilizing greener fuel, carbon offsets, and hydrogen power. Major carriers, such as Emirates, Delta, and Air Canada, currently permit customers to purchase carbon offsets or participate in a carbon loyalty program. Knowing this, event organizers may collaborate with these airlines to provide incentives for conference attendees. Actions may include offering airfare discounts to people flying in via carriers with carbon offsetting programs.


Event venues and transportation are the obvious primary considerations. However, besides these, numerous minor details should be accounted for to maximize carbon reduction to the greatest extent. For instance, hosts may serve food produced in the local area at the event to reduce transportation costs and support the local community. Moreover, as conferences generate a hefty amount of paper waste due to various filings and documentation, organizers may cut back on paper usage. Documents could then be replaced with digital alternatives whenever possible.

Sustainability can be incorporated into every step of the event planning process, from event hall selection to other details such as food. If the environmental meetings succeed in setting a good example, they will leave a beneficial and lasting legacy for the host community and all involved after the meeting. As the adage goes: show, not tell.

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