Greening the Congress footprint

04 May 2012 | News story

IUCN is seeking to fund a certified project that can help compensate for the carbon emissions produced by the 2012 World Conservation Congress. Members and partners of IUCN are invited to submit their proposals by 22 May.

A paradox of holding a summit for the protection of nature is that it generates greenhouse gases (GHG) that contribute to climate change. Air travel will account for the largest share of emissions associated with the event, which takes place in Jeju.

As a world leader in environmental sustainability, IUCN has adopted a greening strategy, which includes the IUCN Carbon Offset Policy to address negative impact on the environment following efforts to avoid and reduce emissions as much as possible. The Congress encourages and adopts an eco-friendly approach to reduce and better use resources such as paper, water, electricity or plastic.

The World Conservation Congress has a responsibility to provide a model to offset carbon emissions produced by large-scale events. To this end, the Jeju Carbon Offset Fund (JCOF) has been established to mobilize resources towards a project that can seize or store carbon dioxide, or avoid the emission of green-house gases.

The JCOF is financed by Congress participants who have the option to pay a voluntary contribute to an offset fee when registering. Rates are set according to the distance travelled by air and the associated emissions, estimates of onsite GHG emissions and the market price for premium carbon offsets. In addition, IUCN will offset the emissions generated by staff, Council members and sponsored delegates.

For effective offsetting of unavoidable GHG emission, the World Conservation Congress will invest in a credible and sustainable project. At the Barcelona Congress in 2008, the Libra/Sekem Composting Project in Egypt was selected. Endorsed by the Carbon Neutral Group, this certified offset scheme ensured the event was carbon neutral, as verified by an independent body.

This year, the World Conservation Congress is again making a call to IUCN Members and partners to propose sound project producing verified or certified emissions reductions in Asia. The projects must comply with a number of criteria (see the submissions document on the right), including third party accreditation under an internationally accepted standard.

The IUCN World Conservation Congress plays an important role in connecting people from governments, NGOs, academia, civil society and the private sector to act jointly for the protection of nature. But such a gathering inevitably creates carbon emissions. So, to stay true to its conservation mission, IUCN is taking steps aiming to make the Jeju Congress a carbon neutral event.

Nature needs you to grow back from the Congress footprint.