Carbon footprint report provides insights and advice on reducing carbon emissions at large events

In a report published on 6 February, we reveal the outcome of a carbon footprint assessment conducted during the CESAER Annual Meetings held in Madrid from 18 to 20 October 2023.
6th February 2024
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This report reveals the outcomes of a carbon footprint assessment conducted by Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and the Secretariat for the CESAER Annual Meetings held in Madrid from 18 to 20 October 2023.

The analysis encompasses various aspects, including travel, commuting, accommodation, catering, restaurant, merchandising, energy, and streaming. Involving 136 participants from 27 European countries, the total carbon footprint reached 40.79 tons of CO2 equivalent, with travel accounting for 83.4%, followed by catering at 7.95%, and accommodation in hotels at 7%. Travel and accommodation data were derived from a survey with a 39% response rate, enabling a direct calculation. For the remaining 61%, estimates were extrapolated based on the responses received and other known information such as the departure cities of participants. Catering and restaurant services provided ingredient quantities, facilitating the computation of the carbon footprint for meals and materials. Notably, the decision to serve exclusively vegetarian meals resulted in a reduction of approximately 3 tons of CO2 equivalent compared to similar menus including meat products.

“In Madrid, the CESAER General Assembly committed to advancing their contributions to sustainability by adopting a declaration on ‘contributions of universities of science and technology to sustainability’. With this report, UPM, as host of the Annual Meetings 2023, and the whole association of CESAER, transparently showcase their commitment to sustainability and willingness to reduce their carbon footprint for a more sustainable future with the intention to inspire other universities and similar networks to do the same. Having the data as evidence-base helps us in taking effective steps towards increasing our contributions to sustainability.” - Alberto Garrido, Chair of Task Force Sustainability 2024-2025 and Vice Rector of Quality & Efficiency at UPM

“Travel footprint is the main source of emissions. Reducing the footprint will require a “logistic driven” host selection. This will allow participants to choose low carbon options for short traveling. Compensation would always be needed in any case if we aim to be carbon neutral.” - Pilar Villegas, Secretary of Task Force Sustainability 2024-2025 and Sustainability Coordinator at UPM

For more information, please contact our Information & Communication Officer, Justine Moynat

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