With the carbon tax being implemented in South Africa soon, what impact can events and businesses really make when looking at their carbon footprint?
It is important to note, that carbon foot-printing isn’t only looking at carbon offsetting through purchasing carbon credits, but also encompasses a much wider scope. Events and business would also need to take into account efficient resource and waste management, as well as eco-procurement, and various other factors, when becoming truly “carbon-neutral”.
While no official stats and data exists for the amount of business and social events which take place on an annual basis, we do have access to rough estimates.
According to a report released by the South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB), in 2016 approximately 297 833 business events were held nationally.
This average equates to roughly 211 000 business events per year, consisting primarily of national meetings, conferences, conventions and exhibitions over a 3 year period. This equates to roughly 1 000 000 international business event delegates per annum, excluding locals, as this was the available data.
If these events were sustainable the following carbon emission reductions would have been made, along with efficient resource usage (DEFRA scale, as calculated by The Heritage Environmental Management Company) :
Electricity: 225 000.00 tonnes CO2 (based on 75KwH of electricity per person).
Travel: return international air travel for 1 mil passengers will create 561 000 tonnes of Co2.
Waste: based on 1.89kg waste per person per day creates 5670 tonnes of CO2.
Road Travel: B.A.(Ed.) on an average of 75Km per person using a coach 8047.5 Tonnes CO2.
Total Emissions: 799 326 Tonnes CO2. Per Person carbon emission rate: 417.92 tones CO2.
Average Stay:3.5 days for a business conference.
The above are averages for business events alone; that is not taking into account recreational and social events, and festivals.
With regards to actual businesses – the sky is the limit.
Out of the current market, at present approximately only 20-30% of businesses would see this service as something essential at this stage – these are the innovators and trendsetters, but that number would grow once regulations are enforced and the approach is seen as the responsible way.
If we look at the KingIV Guidelines which govern companies listed on the JSE and other major entities, these corporates have to report on sustainability in order to remain listed. According to the JSE currently 375 companies are listed.
Looking at that figure alone, one can only imagine the impact of carbon emission reduction, as well as efficient resource management that this could have in the long term. If non-listed medium to large companies and state owned entities and government departments are then included, the further impact is even more sizeable.
The above figure also excludes educational and correctional facilities where GingerBiscuit is intending to focus – on the future generations and those that require rehabilitation of some sort or another.
Together we can make a difference – we just need to take the first step, and commit to the process, in becoming more sustainable in how we move forward.