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October 9, 2013

Offsetting Emissions from Speaker Travel at the 2014 New Horizons Conference

At last year’s New Horizons in Responsible Gambling Conference we strived to implement initiatives to reduce our environmental footprint. We worked with FairWare to source reusable delegate and lunch bags; conference lanyards were part of the Lanyard Library project; and all signage was displayed digitally instead of in print. This year, our aim is to further enhance our commitment to sustainability and build upon last year’s foundation. One of the benefits of hosting the conference in Vancouver is that sustainability is already built in to certain aspects of the conference. For example, the B.C. Pavilion Corporation (PavCo), who operates the conference venue, continually looks for improvements in business operations to reduce environmental impacts. The Vancouver Convention Centre addresses unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions from its operations through the purchase of B.C.-based offsets from the Pacific Carbon Trust, which will help us lower the environmental footprint of the conference.

Although the greenhouse gas emissions from energy that powers our conference will be carbon neutral, we recognize that another significant environmental impact comes from people travelling to Vancouver. That’s why for the 2014 conference we’re committing to offset emissions from speakers’ flights and we’re encouraging our delegates to do their part and offset their own travel. Money spent on carbon offsets is invested into projects that create a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that otherwise would not occur. Costs are reasonable; for example, it’s about $25 to offset a trip from Toronto to Vancouver or about $50 to offset a trip from London to Vancouver.

This is a small but positive step forward and, while not yet being a sustainable event as defined by the International Standard ISO 20121, we continue to introduce more aspects of sustainability to the New Horizons conference. How will you help New Horizons lift the bar and become a more sustainable event? Let us know on Twitter!