Carbon Calculators to Organize Climate-Neutral Events
Do you care about climate change and want to create lower-impact events? Here, we introduce you to 6 CO2 calculators that can help you make your first steps toward organizing climate-neutral events. Each of these calculators has different strengths, so you can choose the one that best fits your vision. From a pure focus on digital events to a special focus on catering, to choosing different hotels, there are many options to consider here. Because climate-neutral events are a relatively new field, there are many innovations to incorporate and providers must continually adapt.
Why is this topic so important? Just take a look at this data. Here you can see practical examples of the impact an event can have on the environment. For example, by organizing a digital event with 5000 participants, you could save the average annual consumption of 158 American families, compared to that if you held the event in person. But calculating the exact CO2 emissions for events is very complex. And for some types of emissions, it’s nearly impossible to capture an accurate figure. Every banner, every flag, and every piece included in the goodie bag has to be assigned a specific value. Therefore, until today, no completely accurate calculation can be guaranteed. Nevertheless, there are many providers who are already on a good path, and we would like to introduce them to you here. We have picked out two very detailed providers, one that focuses on digital events, two that catch the eye with the country-specific selection, and one that is very quick and easy to use.
The first CO2 calculator is BP Target Neutral. We came across it several times in our research, and there is a reason for that. This calculator accompanies you on your way to creating climate-neutral events. Firstly, there is the CO2 calculator itself, which is limited to the most important points. Divided into six categories, it calculates the impact of travel, accommodation, catering, venue, promo material and other services. At first glance, the individual sub-items of the categories seem very brief, however, BP provides an accompanying manual that rounds out the offering. Here you will find every single point described in detail. The aim is to accompany the organization in creating climate-neutral events from the very beginning. This calculator is primarily aimed at event managers and organizers who are still planning their events. For a calculation after the event, this calculator is less useful.
Next, we would like to share the Taupus CO2 calculator. This Finnish provider caught our eye because of the precise calculations possible, for example down to the amount of coffee. First, you can choose between the three options: Finland, Norway, and other EU countries. We think this concept is great and can imagine a German counterpart would be very welcome. From there, organizers can explore the impact of their event through five categories:: travel, energy consumption through the use of space, accommodation, catering and waste production. For each item, there is the possibility to open another field with different subitems. We were impressed by the apparent accuracy of some of these sub-items. For example, under the item Catering, it is possible to select exactly each item the visitors consume. From vegan, to lamb, to coffee quantity, it’s all there. Unfortunately, this level of precision is not available in every category. The Taupus/Liwlig calculator is off to a great start, but there is room for further development to create more precision when it comes to calculating an event’s impact.
Next, is the German-language provider. MyClimate, based in Zurich. MyClimate offers a multi-level, country-specific calculation for climate-neutral events. MyClimate’s calculation is divided into different categories: General Information, Mobility, Accommodation, Catering, Energy, Materials and Transportation/Waste. We liked the fact that the respective country can be selected at the beginning. Despite the German focus, all countries are included here. In addition, this calculator also records the number of event employees, providing a more accurate figure of your personnel in your event’s calculation. There are different levels of specificity within each subcategory, for example, mode of transport and distance. Also for accommodation, a distinction is made between 2-5 star hotels. If one does not know the specific number in a category, one can select the option “Experience values”, which delivers an estimated value that may be calculated alongside your self-reported figures.
Another useful CO2 calculator for climate-neutral events to explore is Happily. The special feature here is that this calculator focuses exclusively on digital events. Here you can first select what type of digital event it is. You can choose between All Hands, Summits, Meetings, Webinars and others. After that, the key data for your specific event can be inputted, even including your preparation time prior to the event. Each aspect of your event is then broken down into specific details, such as the number of breakout sessions. It has to be said here that the calculator could be much more detailed and the results are also very brief. However, we find the basic concept of a CO2 calculator exclusively for digital events very interesting.
5. UBA CO2-Rechner für Veranstaltungen (2022)
The CO2 calculator provided by the Federal Environment Agency is another good option to explore. Unfortunately, this is not as detailed as other competitors, but there is a more specific selection found in this calculator for some categories. These include venue, mobility, meal & accommodation, and others available categories. Here, too, you will find several subcategories to further detail your event’s impact. We were surprised by the apparent accuracy of some options you can choose. For example, in the energy source category, you can select anything from natural gas to wood chips. We have not seen this so precisely with any other provider. Unfortunately, the digital events category is completely underrepresented in this calculator. There is only a minimal selection, so one could theoretically omit this subitem completely and simply make the existing computer available as a pre-live event computer.
6. Carbon Fund
The last CO2 calculator for climate-neutral events that we would like to share is the Carbon Fund calculator. We chose this calculator because the CO2 consumption is not calculated by a computer, but by Carbon Fund employees based on the data provided by event organizers. For this purpose, a document is filled out and then sent to Carbon Fund. Afterward, the usual categories can be found on the whole: General Information, Travel, Event and Shipping. Organizers then fill out individual sub-items and send the entire details back to the Carbon Fund. Since here is calculated by humans, one has the possibility to add more individualized information, that might not fit a generalized category. From here, the team can calculate the impact more precisely. This might be a good option for those events that are a bit more unusual or don’t appear to be well captured by the other carbon calculators in this list.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are already several options for organizers to explore when it comes to carbon event calculators. Which calculator suits your event best, only you decide. Are you in the planning phase and want a provider who can guide you step by step? Then take a look at BP Target Neutral. Is it a digital event? Happily might be a good option. However, as you’ve probably noticed, each of these selections does have its limitations. Given the limited accuracy of each provider, we would recommend trying several for your event and then taking an aggregate measure to get a range that may be a reasonable estimate. Similarly, you can use the calculators to identify aspects of your event that have a high carbon impact, so you can work to find alternative options. The main thing for both provider and consumer is to try as much as possible, and keep expanding your skill set. This way, you are on a good way to creating climate-neutral events.
Do you want to learn more about climate-neutral events? Have a look at our Pinterest board for more CO2 calculators, or download our booklet on creating low-impact events, right here.
PIRATEx Marketing Manager