Earth Day has long honored our need to try to save our planet and preserve it for future generations. As more people become environmentally conscious, they think of different ways to reduce their carbon footprint. While walking has hardly replaced driving, we all try to do our share to go green. Yet, the nagging voice of our conscience keeps telling us that it is not enough.
Non-renewable resources are rapidly being depleted and alarming statistics suggest that unless we can halt the current rate of usage, we only have a fifty -year supply. If your mind registers that as a lifetime supply and therefore not urgent, think of it as boarding a lifeboat but letting your children and grandchildren drown, a sordid analogy that highlights the urgent need to do more.
Perhaps the biggest positive impact we can have on our planet is to ‘keep it virtual’. Given the startling amount of CO2 emissions produced by in-person events, and the rising cost of fuel, going virtual is the newest way of going green.
How much CO2 emissions do in-person events generate?
We need to start by admitting that among the biggest culprits are large businesses who host numerous lavish in-person events per year, and let’s face it, businesses are made up of people, not just policy makers. It is these commercial giants, of which you and I are also a part of, who can take sustainable steps to reduce the carbon footprint on major cities and the world.
Think of what it takes to accomplish an event. A blog by The Company of Biologists states that the main areas that contribute to an in-person event’s carbon footprint are travel, food, materials, and waste, and that on average, “over 170 Kg of CO2 emissions per day” are generated per event attendee.
Imagine thirty attendees driving to and from the venue, sometimes up to an hour. How much ozone depleting carbon dioxide gets emitted into the atmosphere? Compare that to an online conference, that requires no driving or public transportation and would have a significantly smaller carbon footprint.
Picture thirty companies holding different events, with an average of fifty attendees. Traffic congestion inevitably leads to idle engines that also emit carbon dioxide, which is completely unnecessary when these individuals can have the same interaction, discussion, learning experience and productivity from their home.
Paper waste is another unnecessary byproduct of in-person events. Even if the agenda is printed on recycled paper, it does not begin to compare to a virtual file that not only requires no paper, (no cutting of trees and no displaced fauna), but also comes with the added bonus of a cleaner conscience in terms of conservation.
Undoubtedly, one of the best ways your company can do more for the environment is by implementing more virtual meetings. An article on How Virtual Meetings are Saving the Planet points out that “virtual meetings reduce all manner of activities that eat up resources or contribute to pollution.” So, if you want to do more to save the planet, and as a bonus, save time and money hosting events, consider virtual events as a plan to keep carbon in check.
How the rising costs of fuel are affecting the events industry
Aside from the outrageous amounts of CO2 emissions generated by in-person events, consider also the price of fuel. It varies from place to place, but even at the cheapest rate, it costs way more now than it did before.
With the current ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, apart from the harrowing atrocities, we’re also seeing the trickling effects worldwide as the price of fuel has soared. It will not go down any time soon. What better way to show our disapproval than to use virtual meetings as our silent protest. Gas - who needs it? We won’t be driving and we will have the exact same experience and productivity right from home.
This is even more true for events that are so far from your local area that air travel is required. According to an article by Columbia Climate School, “if you fly for work [...] air travel is probably responsible for the largest part of your carbon footprint. Avoid flying if possible.”
Event attendees might question whether a single flight for an event will make any difference, given that there are thousands of daily flights. However, you have to think of not only self-awareness but creating a consciousness that virtual events will reduce your carbon footprint, and if they are demanded more, then the collective carbon footprint is also reduced.
If you think of an online lecture or a TED talk, an obvious virtual event, is it as effective as a physical event? When you consider not only the comfort your home brings, but also how you can concentrate better from a place of peace and calm, then you can really think of virtual events as a replacement for an event that may require a flight, lodging and all the unnecessary travel stress.
In fact, without all the added worries of travel, you actually can prepare better for said meetings and contribute more value and time to your work, as a side bonus to reducing your carbon footprint.
Going virtual means going green
It’s all about carbon. Since carbon is the basic unit of all lifeforms, our very existence is dependent upon our learning to reduce carbon emissions. As people think of more ways to conserve our planet, more “Go green” initiatives are developing. One of them is Earth Day.
The funny thing about Earth Day, though, is that it is precisely that, just a day, a phenomenal day when we highlight the importance of going green, of getting into recycling, of being conscious of our carbon footprint, and of going virtual, but it’s just a day.
Sometimes our only contribution to saving our earth is turning off all electronics for an hour, on Earth Hour, but if you measure your efforts in how much longer you want to live and preserve our planet, then we all need to think of Earth Day every day.
How can you make a sustainable difference? While we cannot live inside our homes forever without ever needing our car or a flight, we can replace in-person events with virtual events for work, and we have an advantage of being able to do this all year round, not just on Earth Day.
If the company you work for doesn’t offer virtual events, ask for them. Employers might not consider green options until enough people start requesting it.
Repeatedly requesting it is the best way to get your employers to start implementing eco-friendly virtual options.
It is the best way to turn it into a staple in all businesses and ingrain it into society as an attainable solution to conserve our natural resources.
For employers, think of how going green by offering virtual events instead of in-person meetings will place your business above others that don’t, because environmentally conscious individuals prefer to work in a place that thinks of our planet and in ways of reducing pollution and their carbon footprint.
Apart from the obvious eco-friendly benefits of a virtual event, it really does reduce waste and saves money. All of these things make a company stand out, as a trendsetter for change.
Are we suggesting that virtual meetings can save our world? Think of it this way: the difference between an Earth-saving hero like Superman and virtual events is that one is real. Virtual events offer a real alternative solution to a growing problem.
Not only do they help our planet by significantly reducing the amount of carbon emissions produced, but they also save attendees time and money, especially with the increasing cost of fuel that is hurting everyone’s pockets.
When we also take into account that there’s flying that we can avoid, especially if a virtual event will serve the same great and productive purpose, it makes sense to turn to virtual.
If you’re thinking of hosting events that are eco-friendly, consider Ace Virtual Events. With customizable floor plans and event technical assistants, it’s the closest simulation to a tangible event; without the guilt, it’s the greenest thing we can adopt. Schedule a demo to see how it works. We’ll gladly meet with you to discuss sustainable event solutions.