Returning to onsite congresses is a delight for many, but the environmental impact is a concern that is also on people’s minds as they travel to attend in-person events. “We want to reassure our delegates that the ESC is aware of the carbon footprint associated with the congress and all our activities,” says ESC President, Professor Stephan Achenbach. “We have put measures in place to offset the carbon footprint of all congress activities onsite in Barcelona and, in addition, to decrease the environmental footprint where we can.”
So how can the ESC reduce the impact of the congress on the environment? The choice of location is important. Barcelona is known as a city that takes climate change very seriously as evidenced by its Biosphere Platinum status – the province is the first destination to have received this distinction due to its sustainability commitment and promotion of responsible tourism. The venue, the Fira Barcelona Gran Via, also has several initiatives in place including the use of green energy and improved energy efficiency, waste-management systems, and sustainable food and beverage supplies.
Delegates can visit the ‘Step Towards a Greener Future’ Cube in the Lounge & Exchange Area to find out more about how the ESC is striving to improve its environmental sustainability practices at the European Heart House and at congresses. For example, by investing in renewable energy projects around the globe, the ESC is offsetting facilities and services associated with ESC Congress including accommodation, the venue, energy consumption, catering and stand building. Travel to ESC Congress is also offset for staff and faculty. Some of the other strategies being employed to reduce the congress’ carbon footprint include replacing speakers’ plastic bottles with cardboard water bottles, using water fountains, selling reusable water bottles and ensuring the signage is recycled or recyclable. The congress centre can be easily reached by metro and the ESC actively encourages the use of public transport.
But what if you want to take your own personal environmental responsibility? The ‘Step Towards a Greener Future’ Cube in the Lounge & Exchange Area houses a calculator that allows you to estimate and then offset your travel emissions. Once you have compensated for your travel, take a picture at the photobooth and join the offsetting community. You can also provide suggestions on how the ESC can become more eco-friendly.
Prof. Achenbach concludes, “The ESC is taking action to reduce all delegates' environmental impact – we hope that you will join us!”