How an event agency achieved carbon neutrality in 9 months

Broadsword set a target to become carbon neutral in 2022 and hit its goal with three months to spare.

Broadsword's Anna Green said that the first step towards going carbon neutral is to break it down into bite-sized pieces.
Broadsword's Anna Green said that the first step towards going carbon neutral is to break it down into bite-sized pieces.

Event agency Broadsword set a goal of going carbon neutral by the end of 2022 - and smashed that target by more than three months. Here the key players share how they did it.

“Climate change is now firmly on the event industry’s agenda," says Broadsword MD Anna Green. "Although reduction in waste and emissions is challenging for our sector, there is momentum, drive and commitment to consistently deliver sustainable events and reduce our impact.

"Broadsword kicked off 2022 ‘determined to do the right thing’ with renewed confidence and ambition to achieve carbon neutrality and implement a carbon reduction strategy by the end of the year. We’re delighted that we’re ahead of schedule!"

Broadsword, which has offices in London, Hong Kong and New York and clients including HSBC, M&G, Clarivate, Moody’s, Kimberley-Clark and Zoopla has credited two organisations in particular as instrumental in its drive towards carbon neutrality.

Firstly, isla an independent sustainability body that has played a key role in inspiring and accelerating change in the sector. Broadsword joined isla in 2021, benefitting from the knowledge sharing, resources, training workshops and suggested approach to policies and KPIs.

Environmental consultancy C Free has also worked with Broadsword to accurately measure its carbon footprint. C Free has built a set of tools and algorithms to read through large data sets in order to understand the carbon emissions related to the operations of a business.

Breaking it down

“We started by breaking it down into bite-sized pieces and setting our own deadlines," added Green. "The first step was to calculate our carbon footprint for the previous year, with scope 1, 2 and 3 total gross emissions measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) as per the recommendation of international standards. This would be followed by carbon offsetting which involves the purchase and retirement of verified emission reductions (carbon credits or offsets).

"Each credit refers to the removal or avoidance of 1 metric tonne of CO2e. We were sure to support Gold Standard VERs as they’re the highest quality voluntary offsets on the market."

Broadsword has also created a carbon management plan to include a commitment to a reduction target, based on the areas where the business is having the most impact.

C Free founder Eddie Fitzgerald-Barron said: “It has been a pleasure working with Broadsword on measuring their carbon footprint. We love working with forward thinking, fast moving businesses. We focused on their business operations where they can have the most impact in reducing their emissions.

"We were able to help them achieve their goal of carbon neutrality in a relatively short time period due to our use of modern data science techniques. Once all the calculations were complete, we shared options for carbon offsetting projects. Broadsword settled on investing in the Sidrap Wind Energy Farm Project, located in Indonesia – a truly fantastic initiative doing great things for the local community. The power generated by the project will supply the public electricity grid, with an expected net annual power supply of 253,00 MWh. I'm looking forward to continuing our work with Broadsword working on improving their impact on the planet.”

“It was hugely motivating to know where our verified carbon credits were going, but of course this is only the start," concluded Green, "We are now implementing isla’s TRACE tool to calculate the emissions of our event delivery more accurately, relying less on the spend-based method as we move forwards. Education remains a key aspect of our sustainability strategy. Our partnership with C Free has been a key first step and extremely valuable, as they have shared their expertise and insight with us on a regular basis, guiding us at the beginning of our sustainability journey.”

Source: MIT Magazine

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