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Review of VO's transition in 2019 by Manon Glauden

11 March 2020
20191114_TO BE SHARED_CO2logic available climate projects
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VO Event's eco-responsibility statement for 2019 is positive, as much for the effort put into circularity as for the carbon offsetting of events. 100% of our events have been offset!

VO's transition has been under way for about ten years, but in 2019 VO Event took a decisive step towards more environmentally responsible, sustainable events. Individual and collective objectives and the creation of specific tools have made it possible to introduce this approach into the daily work of the teams in a practical way. Following the launch of the reporting tool in 2016, VO Event and VO Citizen began producing the Circular Event Toolkit in early 2019. Now available to use on all events, its eight booklets aim to create a virtuous circle of circular economy instincts among project managers and stakeholders. In parallel with this effort to extend best practices and instincts in the design and production of an event, VO has made it a point of honour to make it standard practice for each event to offset its carbon impact. We explain how and why.

 

Why offset an event?

Even though carbon offsetting is not an end in itself, having access to it is a realistic vision for the business. Despite every effort, an event will always have a carbon impact. The objective is clearly to reduce this as much as possible, but, in the meantime, offsetting is a good way of raising awareness of the impact of our business, as well as being a good reference point for measuring changes by comparing the results from year to year.

 

Calculating the footprint of an event

The first step is to make the calculation consistent across all projects. To do this, VO uses internally-developed, precise calculation software created by CO2 Logic that allows all its members to calculate the carbon footprint of their event accurately and independently. Each piece of data input adapts, in real time, the balance and the distribution of emissions per item, as well as the equivalence in figures that everyone can understand. It is a valuable tool that allows the impact of the various choices to be visualised in practical terms at the event design stage.

 

Giving the customer the choice

The calculation tool therefore raises awareness among not only teams but also customers, with whom the subject is now routinely discussed. The customer can then make an informed choice as to whether to agree to offset 100% of the event, or whether to opt for a lump sum that guarantees minimum offsetting based on an average.

Full offsetting has numerous advantages, including the possibility of obtaining a CO2 Neutral Event label, certified by Vinçotte. The amount calculated will be invested in a sustainable project chosen by the customer from among those available, and that meets at least three of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by the United Nations.

If the customer does not wish to cover the compensation, VO will pay a lump sum equivalent to 6 tons of CO2. In this case, the beneficiary is Microsol, a social business specialising in supporting access to clean energy for vulnerable communities in South America.

 

Aiming for 100%

Consequently, 100% of the events run by VO Event and VO Citizen in 2019 were at least partially offset. This activity represents a total of €36,220 allocated to sustainable projects.

This amount is spread over the 4 projects supported by the agency:

3 projects with CO2Logic

  • The construction of wind turbines in Turkey not only generates green energy and increases employment - it also significantly reduces the use of pollutants that would otherwise be used and helps the country become more energy self-sufficient.
  • The distribution of cooking stoves in Ghana, with implications for employment, CO2 emissions, access to energy and the fight against poverty of local populations.
  • The installation of drinking water wells in Eritrea, which not only drastically reduces the risk of disease for local populations, but also improves their quality of life, while reducing damage to local forests.

1 with Microsol

  • The projects supported by VO via Microsol concern Honduras and the Utsil Naj programme. In 2019, the contribution from the agency and its customers enabled 73 families to benefit from financial aid that was converted into new baking ovens. These ovens are now used in each home and avoid the use of simple wood fires that are destructive and polluting and were in use to date. In this way, 330 tons of CO2 have been avoided.

This is a result that VO is proud to highlight, and we thank all our customers for their participation.

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