The Green Room

Carbon Reporting for Events

We have produced reports for some big events and always set out with the ambition of producing a carbon footprint for the event (think temporary structures, outdoors, generators etc.). However, this often gets scoped out early on when the client realises the information they will need to provide or they never provide us with the information and ask us not to include a carbon footprint in the final report. The focus is understandably on ‘visible’ environmental impacts (waste, food, material use, welfare, accessibility etc.). Have you successfully persuaded a client to do a carbon footprint and how did you make this compelling?


Here are some reports comparing CO2 emissions of virtual events vs in-person events

An analysis of ways to decarbonize conference travel after COVID-19
.d41586-020-02057-2 Nature July 2020 Decarbonizing conference travel after COVID-19.pdf (1.4 MB)

A Nearly Carbon-Neutral Conference model - White Paper/Practical Guide
Nearly Carbon Neutral Conference Model Guide – Ken Hiltner.pdf (253.5 KB)

Making industrial exhibitions green: A literature research on the Life Cycle Analysis of physical and virtual industrial exhibitions (contains links to several other papers on the subject)
Making industrial exhibitions green Sustainability-Report_Whitepaper.pdf (73.2 KB)


The travel carbon footprint of the AGU Fall Meeting 2019

More than 24,000 scientists from at least 101 countries will present at the American Geoscience Union’s (AGU) Fall Meeting 2019 held in San Francisco, USA. We estimate that these scientists travel in total 244 million km to San Francisco and back, which emits 69,300 tCO2e, an average of 2.9 tCO2e per scientist. 74% of these carbon emissions result from intercontinental flights (>8000km).

Relocating the AGU Fall Meeting to Chicago, a location that is nearly optimal to minimize to total distance covered, would reduce the emissions by 12%. If the equivalent of the 17% highest emitting attendees participated virtually, the carbon emissions would be reduced by 39%. Virtual participation for 36% of the highest emitting attendees would reduce the carbon footprint by 76%. Only a format in which the conference takes place biennially in Chicago with virtual participation for 36% of attendees would reduce the travel carbon footprint by more than 90%.

Travel carbon footprint of the EGU General Assembly 2019

How much carbon dioxide does travelling to the annual EGU General Assembly emit and how it can be reduced to less than 5% of current emissions in short time.

NAC Green Rooms Carbon Estimation, Prepared by Ian Garrett, Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts

For a given group of attendees at a conference style event—such as the National Arts Centre’s
Green Rooms gathering—online gathering through video conference and streaming video
provides significant reductions in estimated emissions. This is true for traditional single-location
gatherings, as well as distributed events which are programmed across multiple sites to
minimized long-haul travel.

With an estimated 78% reduction in emissions as a result of
eliminating the majority of long-haul air travel through a distributed number of connected
gathering hubs, moving to an online-only streaming format is estimated to reduce emissions by
over 99% of a traditional or 98.6% a hub-based in-person format.

NAC Report v3.pdf (215.2 KB)

How Can I Calculate My Carbon Emissions for Video and Audio Streaming? A Producer’s Guide to Measuring, Budgeting, and Lowering the Carbon Emissions of Livestreams and Video Conferences

by Vijay Mathew

For a two-day professional conference that I attended by video conferencing in December 2020, I calculated that my eight hours of being in the video conference produced 3.42 kg (7.5 lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions, compared to my in-person attendance at the same conference the year earlier when I travelled by plane and produced 143 kg (315 lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions. (See the next section for how this was calculated.)

As you see, streaming has a very significant difference in emissions. However, there is also a deceptively real environmental cost to production and consumption of internet media. The energy and physical materials usage of the information and communications technology industries is on the typical, extractive, and ecocidal growth trajectory that we need to transition out of very quickly.

My carbon emissions calculation above is looking at just one small segment of my overall environmental footprint: the electricity that was used to send and receive the video conference data. What is not included is the entire complex system full of scarce metals mined in conflict zones that have significant negative environmental and social impacts, the carbon footprint of shipping used by the gigantic supply chains that produce our devices, and all of the data centers and infrastructures that we never see.

Given this, making a complete estimate of your carbon footprint is very difficult, and the science measuring this has not reached consensus. Emissions figures should be considered as tools for building awareness around consumption.

Read the rest at