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April 16, 2008

Tim Waygood:Eventiaís One Future initiative misses the point

Eventia has just launched the Eventia One Future initiative, which according to their website:

“Clients of Eventia members will receive lower carbon event management and have the ability to make a voluntary 1% contribution of their total spend on any event. The proceeds will be used to support UK woodland creation and energy education in primary schools. 1% has been selected as it most closely corresponds to the current market cost of carbon credits in relation to events activity.”

While this initiative is to be welcomed for the concern it communicates, it is not the route I would take for several reasons:

– A flat 1% misses the fact that events vary tremendously in terms of their carbon impact. For instance how can you equate an event involving flights compared to an event taking the shortly to be carbon neutral Eurostar to Paris? Turnover and carbon impact are not related.

– Energy education is already quite well done. It is governments and adults that need the education! Recent BBC reports outline very aware four to 12-year-olds suffering stress due to climate concerns.

– Planting trees in the UK is not nearly as effective as offsetting carbon by planting and preserving in the tropics. The UK has already committed to substantial carbon reductions, offsetting in third world countries is, therefore, to be preferred.

– Creating lower carbon events must involve estimating the carbon impact of different options, then using a code of practice that involves supplier management to do the same, and offering an offset option that covers the carbon generated. Our carbon consultants advice is to measure-reduce-measure-offset.

I applaud the good intentions of Eventia, but don’t understand the logic of this policy.

Tim Waygood is managing director of MotivAction Group.
To find out about MotivAction’s green initiatives, visit www.motivaction.co.uk/resources/pdf/goinggreen.pdf

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