Carbon footprint reduction has become a top priority for businesses around the world. The events industry has quite rightly been under pressure to demonstrate its commitment to a sustainable future.
As an event production company, we understand the need to reduce carbon emissions and operate sustainably. In 2020 KGA became one of the first carbon neutral events agencies in the UK.
Here, we share our five steps to becoming a carbon neutral business.
Events consume a lot of energy, but there are ways you can reduce this impact. One effective strategy is to use LED lighting, which is upto 75% more energy efficient than incandescent lighting. Insist on LED lighting from venues and suppliers where possible. Events also generate a lot of waste, but this impact can be minimised by implementing a waste management plan. This plan should include recycling, as well as reducing single-use items such as plastic water bottles, straws, and food packaging. Attendees and staff can also be encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles and cups, for example.
”One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”: At KGA we donate props to charities and hospitals, and set pieces often go to clients’ offices or to scenery salvage organisations. This reduces the amount of ‘end of life’ waste generated.
Measure the impact your operation and events have on the environment. For your operation this requires data on things like office energy use and staff transportation. For events this includes the carbon emissions generated by energy consumption, transportation, materials, and waste production. Once you have data, you can identify your opportunities to implement sustainable practices, and set goals to reduce your carbon emissions.
“Knowing your position: the first step towards reaching your destination”: At KGA, alongside the standard operations calculator, we engaged environmental consultancy Carbon Footprint Ltd to build a bespoke carbon calculator tool designed specifically for events.
3. Have Your Figures Assessed and Verified
To be verified as a carbon neutral business, your operational calculations must be reviewed by an independent assessor. Your calculations require data on the amount of office energy the business uses, the types of fuels consumed, plus the transportation habits, methods and distances of employees. All operational data can be put through a simple carbon calculator tool, often supplied by the assessor. They will examine your figures and may request evidence or any further detail.
Once all data has been reviewed and verified, the assessor can advise the business of its accurate carbon footprint. In other words the amount of CO2 emitted during its business operation.
“Knowledge is power, but knowing your data is empowerment”: At KGA, we again use our environmental consultancy Carbon Footprint Ltd to assess and verify our operational carbon footprint.
Even with sustainable practices in place, it is impossible to have zero carbon emissions. To become carbon neutral, you need to take your calculations and offset your carbon emissions by investing in carbon offsetting projects. These may include renewable energy projects, reforestation, or community projects.
Your assessor will often provide you with options for offsetting your verified carbon footprint.
It is important to target reputable projects such as those certified by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) programme.
”As you sow, so shall someone reap”: At KGA we select which VCS programmes we want to support and we offset our emissions by contributing financially to those programmes. The sums have already been done for us by our environmental consultancy.
5. Become Certified
With carbon offsetting contributions made, you will receive official certification. Verification for a carbon neutral operation is valid for one year, after which you must become re-verified in order to continue publicising your carbon neutral status.
Becoming a carbon-neutral events agency is achievable by following these five steps. By measuring your carbon footprint, reducing energy consumption and waste, offsetting carbon emissions, and communicating your sustainability efforts, you can have a positive impact on the environment. At the same time, you can inspire others to take action towards a greener future. By adopting sustainable practices, you can differentiate your agency from others, attract conscious clients, and contribute to a more sustainable society.