Friday 4th June, 2010

Going carbon neutral

Image courtesy of Carbon Neutral Company.

Sponsoring projects to diminish the carbon footprint is the new frontier of environmentally friendly programmes supported by companies.

Reducing global carbon emissions by 2020 requires a combination of both local and global action.

In this spirit, the Business Design Centre (BDC) in Islington has recently become the first carbon neutral exhibition and conference centre in Britain.

The centre has teamed up with the CarbonNeutral Company, an international market carbon offset and climate consulting firm with offices in London, to measure the amount of CO2 emissions produced by the venue every year. 

For every tonne of CO2 it produces, the BDC will pay for an equivalent amount  to be reduced in offset projects. This strategy implies annual reassessment of CO2 emissions by the BDC, but is meant to be part of a long-term commitment.
What are the offset projects all about?

The projects meet the requirements of the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), a Washington-based organisation that assesses voluntary offset carbon programmes. They consist of the installation of four wind power turbine generators in the state of Tamil Nadu in India, the capturing and piping of landfill gas in Colombia and the reforestation of degraded land in Tanzania.

“The project in Tanzania was launched just one year ago,” said Sharon Corrigan, PR manager of CarbonNeutral, “and it’s not limited to just reducing carbon emissions. It has helped create employment opportunities, the development of infrastructures and primary schools.”
Why offsetting?

Unable to decrease the venue’s carbon footprint to zero, the BDC has decided to sponsor offset projects as part of its commitment to improve energy efficiency and decrease internal emissions.

Chief executive Dominic Jones believes the move will boost the branding of the venue. “We are confident that potential organisers will see this accreditation as a benefit when looking for a venue to place an event,” he said.

According to CarbonNeutral, the offset strategy has the advantage of being more cost-effective. Since its establishment in 1997, CarbonNeutral Company has worked with 300 large businesses, including Sky, and hundreds of small and medium companies.
Section - business

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