Why bother measuring event emissions?

The UK government has committed to a net-zero emissions target by 2050, which means that any emissions produced by the country as a whole “Must be balanced by schemes to offset an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere”. 

For many businesses, this has resulted in a pledge to offset emissions, but in order to offset these emissions a business needs to have tools in place to measure their emissions. Without this, the offsetting will be a good estimate at best, and a token gesture at worst and can result in bad press around “Greenwashing” and a lack of credibility. In short, in order to balance something, you must know the weight of both sides. 

Marketing your event as ‘offsetting’, or carbon neutral without providing measurements and data will be seen as greenwashing, and really should be avoided. This summer we saw many high profile events market themselves as “carbon neutral” or even :carbon positive” with lots of information on what they did to offset, but no information on measurement tools, or reduction strategies.

Carbon offsetting is not a get out of jail free card, it doesn’t give you free rein to go ahead and continue producing unlimited emissions. All carbon offsetting schemes have a failure risk (some are better than others). Step 1 is always reducing, reduce emissions as far as possible and then balance, or offset any unavoidable emissions. Events and businesses that take this measurement and reduction approach have little to fear and everything to gain.