How to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions with Zero Budget

February 17, 2020

Julia Spangler

Julia Spangler is a sustainable events consultant who specializes in reducing and diverting waste at meetings and events. Julia helps organizations and event professionals reduce the environmental impact of their events in order to preserve our planet and deliver powerful sustainability stories. 

Did you know that the biggest climate change impact from your event happens before your event even begins? That’s because travel is the top contributor of greenhouse gas emissions from events.

According to calculations by MeetGreen in 2014, for an association conference of 5,000 attendees, 80% of the event’s emissions came solely from travel.

Thankfully, there’s a helpful tool event organizers can use to negate the impact of attendee travel: carbon offsets. The concept behind carbon offsets is that an individual or company can offset the impact of their greenhouse gas emissions by supporting projects that reduce global carbon emissions by an equivalent amount.

Carbon offsets are relatively inexpensive, typically just a few dollars per flight. But what if your event doesn’t have any budget to cover offsets for attendee travel?

Quick Tip: Share carbon offset information with guests so they have the option of offsetting their own travel.

Even if you can’t afford to purchase carbon offsets on behalf of your attendees, it’s free to share information about carbon offsets in your communications or registration form.

First, find a carbon offset provider like Native Energy that helps guests easily calculate the impact of their travel and purchase the equivalent offsets. Next, share the link to the provider and a blurb about why carbon offsets are important. That’s all you need to do!

The Oracle OpenWorld conference offers a voluntary carbon offset option to attendees during the registration process. For their 2017 event, 3,670 attendees chose to offset their own travel emissions, resulting in 2,884 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions being canceled out.

By simply offering the green option of carbon offsets, you’ll help many of your guests make a sustainable choice they might not have known how to make otherwise.

For more information about carbon offsets, check out the Climate Action Reserve’s list of reputable carbon offset providers (use the Retail filter to find options that individuals can purchase).


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