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Attaining Net Zero

A look at how to reduce and offset carbon emissions from events

Sustainability is a topic that continues to grow in popularity, yet as conversations evolve, planners are looking for more concrete ways to reduce the impact of events on the environment. One major element of creating sustainable events is to offset carbon emissions, commonly referred to as “net zero.”

In their session Saved by Zero at this year’s Catersource + The Special Event (held in Orlando this past March), sustainability consultants Suzanne Morrell and Natalie Lowe defined net zero as the “balance between [the] amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) that’s produced and the amount that’s removed from the atmosphere.” This boils down to a simple equation: emissions – mitigation = net emissions (which is the same thing as the offset emissions). In other words, events contribute to the production of carbon, a greenhouse gas that is a main contributor to climate change and the rapid warming of the planet. Events create excess carbon through transportation, energy, food waste, and general waste. Travel to and from events, energy used to sustain events, food thrown out at the end of events, and consumer waste—things like carpet, swag, and unrecycled plastic—all contribute to excess carbon emissions, which is why responsible event production takes these factors into account and works to counteract them.

So, what is a planner to do? Special Events magazine breaks it down: transportation, energy, food waste, and general waste.

Head over to Special Events to check out the full article. 


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