Press Release: The Largest Carbon Management Audit of its Kind in Hong Kong Civic Exchange: Climate Dialogue 2010 Event Carbon Footprint Report Now Available

Climate Dialogue was a four-day international conference on climate change held in Hong Kong from 3 to 6 November 2010, with about 1,600 delegates. Mindful that environmental and carbon management of events is a global trend but not yet the norm in Hong Kong, the Organizers used the conference as an opportunity to learn more about greener conferencing. 
 
Civic Exchange commissioned RESET Carbon Limited, a professional carbon management firm, to carry out the 
captioned event carbon audit. Some of the greener conference initiatives at the event include: 
 
  •  Including environmental considerations in the tender for the major contractors; 
  • Arranging complementary MTR cards or low carbon vehicles (hybrids and EVs) for international invitees’ transport from the airport to hotels; 
  • Selecting a venue easily reached by MTR and providing a map to delegates showing MTR location; 
  • Limiting the size of the hardcopy conference programme and excluding souvenirs and other paraphernalia for general delegates; 
  • Biodegradable bamboo fabric lanyards for conference badges purposely left plain with no logo or branding so they could be used for other events; 
  • Discouraging delegates and speakers from disseminating hardcopies of presentations or promotional materials and encouraging them instead to add materials to the ‘Resources’ section of the conference website; 
  • Promoting the conference through mostly electronic means;
  • Limiting the amount of disposable material backdrops and decorations by making use of electronic projections, hired pot-plants and audio-visual effects; 
  • Supplying drinking water in jugs and glasses rather than in small individual bottles, as well as working with the venue on sorting and recycling systems for consumables; 
  • Working with caterers on lower carbon menus for lunch and refreshments, as well as collection of scraps for composting; 
  • Purchasing offsets for the total estimated carbon emissions of about 1,300 tCO2e for the conference, including international flights for delegates, which represented about 95% of emissions. 
 
The Organizers used Climate Dialogue as an opportunity for benchmarking conference delivery with a view of continuous improvement in future events. Some of the learnings included: 
 
  • Hong Kong businesses are reluctant to share data on utility usage, which affects the collection of data; 
  • Every environmental initiative represents a marketing opportunity about environmentally focused choices, including delegates’ own behaviour during the conference; 
  • As yet, customer demand for a low carbon, environmentally sensitive catering is not strong in Hong Kong, and will require an ongoing process of communication and education; and 
  • Communications and training applies along the whole event supply chain, to ensure that all staff, volunteers, and service providers are aware of low carbon principles.