Published On: February 20 , 2024|

How sustainable are sustainability conferences? Comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment of an international conference series in Europe

Over the last two decades, there has been a growing concern for mitigating environmental impacts at scientific conferences. However, little action has been taken in terms of sustainability. Shockingly, only one in ten sustainability conferences promote actions to reduce environmental impacts. Neugebauer et al. (2020)1 conducted a comprehensive evaluation of a scientific sustainability conference. They analysed all environmental optimisation measures, as well as pre- and post-conference activities, to improve the conference’s environmental profile. To achieve this goal, they conduct a comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of a sustainability-focused scientific conference, using the standardised methodology outlined in ISO standards 14040 and 14044. LCA is “a holistic approach that evaluates the environmental aspects and potential impacts associated with the production, use, and disposal of a product. It is worth noting that the conference in question has a significant carbon footprint that should be reduced.” The Valencia Conference Centre is a pioneer in sustainability when it comes to event organisation. Measures are taken to reduce food waste and the environmental impact of each conference by reducing the amount of material used, reusing existing material, and offering a vegetarian menu. These efforts have significantly reduced the carbon footprint of events held at the Conference Centre and improved sustainability management.

 


Neugebauer, S., Bolz, M., Mankaa, R., & Traverso, M. (2020). How sustainable are sustainability conferences?–Comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment of an international conference series in Europe. Journal of Cleaner Production, 242,  118516