Through its commitment to sustainability, APD has been organising sustainable ‘carbon-neutral’ events for its clients since 2012.
APD’s extensive experience in this field has led to the publication of a guide for organising sustainable events.
No one doubts anymore that the planet is facing its greatest environmental challenge – climate change. It is a situation that affects us all, directly or indirectly, and it is our responsibility to mitigate and prevent the consequences in everything we do. This responsibility led ACCIONA Producciones y Diseño (APD) to set itself the challenge several years ago to become a pioneering company for the design and production of sustainable events, reflecting the principles of the ACCIONA Group, which is seeking to spearhead the transition to a low-carbon economy through its business activities.
This strategic undertaking reflected both the commitment to improving the quality of APD’s services, adapting to the needs of its clients, and the goal of aligning itself with ACCIONA’s principles of sustainable development, seeking to reduce its environmental footprint as much as possible and contribute to the economic and social development of the environments in which it operates.
From the outset, ACCIONA Producciones y Diseño worked on a new sustainable “carbon-neutral” event concept, progressively integrating sustainability into all phases of the project and offsetting the CO2 emissions associated with the events that could not be prevented. As the term “carbon-neutral” suggests, the carbon associated with the event has a final balance of zero by offsetting these emissions.
APD has undertaken countless projects in this area since 2012, when it began developing carbon-neutral events for its clients. To date, some 1,048 tonnes of CO2 have been prevented through these initiatives.
Guide for organising sustainable events
However, prior to offsetting any emissions, it is essential to apply preventive actions that help minimise and prevent them, starting from the initial event design and preparation phases. APD’s extensive experience in this area has led to the creation of a written document entitled the “Guide for organising sustainable events”. This guide includes all the details of the key elements for successfully organising events like these, taking into account the needs in areas such as programme organisation, venue, catering, mobility, transport and technical services. The purpose of this guide is to provide everyone involved in an event (organisers, clients, participants, speakers, suppliers, etc.) with a series of sustainable best practices that will help them reduce the environmental impact of the event and promote the social and economic development of the area in which it takes place.
Offsetting CO2 emissions
The sources of the CO2 emissions associated with the event must be analysed, in parallel to the implementation of the actions to minimise emissions, reducing the event’s negative environmental impact as much as possible. The minimum recommendation is to examine emissions sources such as material and equipment transport, personnel travel and accommodation, waste generation, electricity and fuel consumption (boilers, auxiliary machinery, etc.).
Next, the emissions are calculated and recorded, based on the guidelines and recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), ISO 14064:2006 and the WBSCD/WRI GHG Protocol.
Finally, offsetting is achieved by purchasing carbon credits from a project verified under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), guaranteeing that the carbon credits are real and measurable.
Some of the most important milestones in event organisation by ACCIONA Producciones y Diseño under sustainability-based criteria include Music Day, which received the Best Sustainable European Event award at the European Best Event Awards, and third prize for the Best Responsible Event at the Eventoplus awards.
Thanks to its environmental commitment, the festival received prestigious European environmental certificates, such as the ‘Industry Green’, ‘Green&Clean Award’, ‘A Greener Festival Award’ (in the Highly Commended category) and the ‘Greenhouse Gas Emission Offsetting Diploma’ from Madrid City Hall.
The 2018 Santalucía Sales Convention is another example of an event undertaken under sustainability-based criteria, right from the design phase, with a staging made entirely of recyclable materials based on cardboard and canvas. In addition, like all APD events, the convention was carbon-neutral: the CO2 emissions associated with holding the event were offset with the clean energy project ‘Tuppadahalli Wind Energy’ in Karnataka, India, achieving a zero-emissions final balance.