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What Are Climate-friendly Events?

Climate-friendly events proactively embrace the fact events produce carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which contribute to climate change. Event managers who adopt climate-friendly strategies accept they have an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and costs they can avoid, and take responsibility for those they cannot.

Why Climate-friendly Events?

Climate-friendly events make sense for the planet: they reduce the production of harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. But do climate-friendly event strategies make sense for business too?

Energy use, cost and carbon impacts may be directly correlated. Where energy use drops, cost and CO2 tend to drop as well. For example:

By eliminating attendee shuttles in 2008, the Unitarian Universalist Association eliminated $80,000 in event costs (Source: UUA/MeetGreen).

Shambala Festival cut fuel consumption, cost and carbon by 20% between 2011 and 2012 by paying careful attention to onsite power management (Source: Powerful Thinking).

From a venue and hotel perspective: Green buildings reduce day-to-day costs year-over-year. LEED® buildings report almost 20 percent lower maintenance costs than typical commercial buildings, and green building retrofit projects typically decrease operation costs by almost 10 percent in just one year (Source: USGBC).

Opportunities for sponsorship

Climate-friendly event strategies can be a source of event sponsorship. In a high-profile example, Dow Chemical became the Official Carbon Partner of Rio 2016, supporting mitigation of 500,000 tons of carbon emissions through verified emissions reductions.

Participant goodwill

At a minimum, carbon-conscious efforts represent an investment in an event’s social and environmental licence to operate, acknowledging participants expect event organizers to be responsible. Communication of such efforts can make participants feel better about attending, knowing carbon impacts are being minimized and mitigated.

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