But before reducing, the first step is to accurately count all the CO2 emissions associated with the planned event. The common misconception is that calculating emissions is difficult, complicated, and requires running a spreadsheet of tables. If the idea of doing this alone gives you a headache – we are here to help! The Check Your Event calculator is a very simple tool that enables you to estimate the carbon footprint of your event.
Check Your Event calculator – collect the data!
Get a piece of paper, grab a pen and think about the aspects you need to analyse. These will undoubtedly include the transport and mobility associated with the event, any kind of travel and accommodation for invitees, energy and resource consumption, catering, and the materials used to build the scenery. Do your best to consider all aspects of the event you are organising. Here are ten elements you need to analyse to answer the calculator’s questions. You can leave the rest to our experts.
- When and where? Specify the location of the event and its duration.
By specifying the city, you let the calculator use averaged values for those questions you have doubts about. Do you organise it in Poland or abroad? For example, Gdynia uses an entirely different power grid than Singapore, so the average energy consumption differs significantly. Our calculator allows you to use averaged values to help you get an approximate result, even if you lack exact data.
Remember that a favourable location is a key to encouraging participants to commute by public transport or bicycle. The choice of environmentally friendly means of transport translates into lower emissions for your event. What’s more, your guests save time by avoiding traffic jams and finding parking.
TIP: Educate participants on how much time and CO2 they can save by choosing the tram, metro or bicycle instead of travelling by car. In your marketing materials, you can include information on how to reach the event venue by public transport and organise bicycle parking.
- Who: How many people are involved in organising the event, and how many attendees do you expect?
You can lower your emissions, whether it’s a wedding reception for 100 or a concert for 1,000 people. The bigger the event, the greater the responsibility and the greater impact.
TIP: Unless you know the exact number of attendees, you can give an expected average figure. Remember that each person, whether the organiser, invited artist, speaker, or audience member, makes up the overall environmental footprint that your event will leave. On the journey towards carbon neutrality, the sum of all your efforts counts!
- Is your event going to be held indoors or outdoors?
If indoors, what percentage of these areas will be heated or air-conditioned? Does the building provide for the use of passive heat sources? You can easily find this information from the landlord of the premises you are renting, on your heating bills or in your latest heating/cooling equipment inspection report.
TIP: Your space total should also include corridors and toilets. Your event is not just the room where the concert or performance takes place but also the passageways, restrooms and all the backstage areas. Using the premises during the event’s set-up and take-down also adds to its final CO2 emissions bill.
Pay attention to the natural qualities of the event location and inform participants about the recommendations regarding the use of the premises. Protect the environment and ensure residents’ comfort, for example, by lowering noise levels.
- Check your electric meters. Have you already figured out the total energy consumption projected for the event? What source of energy will be used? Does your company use renewable energy sources?
If so, what percentage of the energy consumed comes from renewable sources? You can easily find this information on your latest electricity invoice. Ask your landlord for details if you are renting a space.
TIP: You can give average values at the calculation stage, but remember to read your energy meters before and after the event to keep a record of your energy consumption. Consider whether you can use less energy, for example, by replacing light bulbs in the rooms with energy-efficient ones or powering some of your equipment with solar energy. Take care of your event’s water management too! You can do that by fitting aerators to your faucets. This alone can save between 15 and 60 per cent of water!
- How can I get there? Identify what means of transport your guests can use.
Do any of the guests travel by plane? Does your company have a fleet of cars? Do you plan to encourage utilising the city’s electric vehicles or perhaps carpooling? Include all the types of transport related to the event and the distances the guests will be travelling. You can find the data on fuel invoices. You can also check the car’s odometer or the last vehicle inspection report.
TIP: Encourage your guests to travel by train, bus or car instead of a plane. Keep the number of journeys associated with your event to a minimum, and coordinate your invitees’ trips. You can offer them shared transport, carpooling, or reimbursement for train travel.
- Accommodation. If the invitees stay overnight, consider their number, the place and the duration of their stay.
The emissions associated with an event include transport, overnight accommodation, and extended stays of guests, making a mark on the environment.
TIP: Look out for eco-hotels! The offer of venues that incorporate sustainability standards into their operations is growing steadily. It would be best to ask about the source of hotel energy, resource and waste management policies, and the origin of the meal ingredients. You can find such information on the property’s website. Choose a facility that cares about the local community and supports their socio-economic situation. Support small, local businesses wherever possible.
- Catering. The food you serve at the event contributes significantly to the total emissions generated by the event.
Calculate the number of meat, vegan, and vegetarian dishes. Limit meat and dairy options. Plant-based ones have a much lower environmental footprint! Heating meals also affects the amount of energy used (and therefore emissions). Calculate the number of hot and cold dishes. Check how many litres of water, coffee and tea, alcohol or milk was bought for the event.
TIP: Read labels, seek out the products with a carbon footprint indication and choose those that are neutral for the planet! Also, look for other certifications that show good quality crops, environmental consideration, and fair remuneration policies for farmers. Choose palm oil-free products and order from local suppliers. Offer takeaway packaging (made of recyclable materials) to guests or encourage them to bring their boxes and take the leftover food home after the event.
- Materials. Add up all the different materials used for production, organisation and promotion.
Consider how many flyers, posters, invitations or handouts were printed for your event and whether you can replace them with digital materials. Maybe you could also wrap giftpacks for guests in recycled paper instead of plastic-coated bags. Instead of outsourcing the production of dedicated promotional gadgets such as pens, t-shirts, and calendars, do without them altogether. Reflect on the materials used for the decoration or scenery and choose recycled or borrowed materials, for example, furniture. Follow the 5Rs principle – refuse, reuse, reduce, repurpose, recycle.
TIP: Use raw materials from verified sources, check suppliers and their certifications, and ask about the transparency of their supply chain. Avoid plastic. Choose recyclable or, better still, biodegradable materials or order materials that you can reuse, for example, for future events.
- Transport. Shipments and transports are integral to shopping.
Estimate what, on average, the distance the ordered goods might travel. Choose suppliers who use environmentally friendly means of transportation or offset their emissions. Look for this information on courier and transport company websites or ask your business partners.
TIP: Optimise deliveries – pay attention to how loaded the transport vehicles are and avoid so-called empty runs. Plan all orders so you can choose an environmentally friendly shipping option. Buy locally because the shorter the distance an order travels, the lower your purchases’ carbon footprint.
- Take an interest in your waste. Inevitably, there will be some rubbish or leftovers after your event.
How much of your event leftovers can be recycled or, better still, turned into biowaste and composted? Do not forget to count how many kilograms of glass, plastic and paper are left after the event and ensure that all waste is sorted and placed in the correct recycling bins.
TIP: Donate any food left after the event to an organisation that prepares meals for people in need. When ordering food, pay attention to how it is packaged and choose eco-friendly options such as reusable containers, glass or edible utensils.
Organise a carbon-neutral event together with TerGo!
If you analyse the areas above, you will obtain the necessary data to estimate your event’s emissions. Use the Check Your Event calculator to estimate your emissions, and then contact us at [email protected]. We will help you prepare and implement an emissions reduction plan – the best one for your event and the environment.