It’s a common understanding that the world is confronted with a huge carbon emissions problem, not to mention the catastrophic effects caused by human activity and the resulting emissions thereof. The problem is not a new one, and definitely not the one that is transitory in nature. Earth’s atmosphere is gravely suffering as it has been afflicted with the excessive prevalence of greenhouse gases, which may still take centuries to dissipate. 

Globally, the expert consensus is clear. The need of the hour is to take urgent action NOW, so as to bring down emissions. As the world grapples to mitigate climate change, carbon neutrality must be considered as a zero-sum game. The idea is to reach “net zero” emissions, removing as much carbon as humans pump into the environment. 

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which launched its Sustainability Summit in the year 2006, has firmly aligned this flagship event with the tenets of carbon neutrality. The Sustainability Summit was made carbon neutral since 2017.

Since then, a range of initiatives, compliant with PAS 2060:2014, have been directed at meeting the specific requirements of quantification, reduction and offsetting of greenhouse gas emissions. The initiatives at the Sustainability Summit are a sincere attempt to attain this objective with detailed planning: 

  • Data related to the distance travelled and mode of transport chosen by participants is collated.
  • GHG emissions of the participant’s travel is calculated.

Emphasis has been laid on making the Summit TECHNOLOGY intensive so as to minimize paper dependency.

  • Publishing e-information with respect to agenda, sponsor cards, proceedings among others. Since the last three Summits, no documentation packs have been distributed to the participants.
  • To give the Summit a digital push, a Summit APP and webpage have been developed that include all the information related to Summit. Free Wi-Fi is provided to the participants to encourage them to download and use the Sustainability Summit App in lieu of taking prints.
  • Partners are discouraged to share their published materials and display of standees. 
  • An extensively online system of feedback has been deployed instead of using paper.

Recycling and reusing are promoted at the summit:

  • Recycled paper has been used for badges and participants are requested to return their lanyards before they leave, in order to reuse them.
  • As a standard practice, instead of plastic folders, recycled paper folders are given to dignitaries/speakers. 

Among the broad spectrum of activities that result in carbon emissions, electricity constitutes a significant share. CII has incorporated ENERGY & RESOURCE CONSERVATION PRACTICES like calculating electricity consumption:

  • Hotels have been advised to provide data of electricity consumed on the two days of Summit and during the stay of delegates. Regulation of appliances like air conditioners is also in place.
  • Electricity bills are calculated for pre-Summit office work.
  • The hotel where the Summit has been held, has been encouraged to take up small steps with respect to offsetting carbon emissions, like the use of LED lights at the venue.

The Sustainability Summit has also been able to reflect a paradigm shift from conspicuous to conscious consumption. For this, one of the major steps has been to banthe use of single-use plastics:

  • Cloth based backdrop and hoardings were used instead of using flex backdrop, which shall continue in the Summits to come.
  • No plastic bottled water was served; instead water was provided in glass jugs/pitchers along with glasses, with either cloth covers and reusable plastic lids.

With respect to judicious consumption, the hotel management has been advised to avoid and managefood wastage, possibly through composting.

It is ensured that LPG consumption for cooking food at the hotel during the two days of Summit is calculated and accounted for.

In a nutshell, the Sustainability Summit’s Carbon Neutrality initiative is simple but powerful, to leave no stone unturned in our attempt to “reduce the carbon footprint” and move towards sustainable living.

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