Webcasting events seriously reduce your carbon footprint


Webcasting events seriously reduce your carbon footprint - according to key findings of a report from co2balance commissioned by BroadView.

The findings demonstrated just how green web-based events are compared with their live equivalent.

The research - by carbon management specialist co2balance - compared the carbon footprint of a traditional conference compared with a webcast. The results show that if they had attended the event, viewers of the webcast would have used 3.7 tonnes more CO2 each than they did by watching online. This would have multiplied their carbon footprint by a staggering 17,222.

The event in question was a pharmaceutical conference in New Orleans, US, which required delegates to fly to attend and stay overnight. co2balance used the actual location of those watching online as the basis for its research to calculate how much carbon they would have used had they attended.

"Not all events are as global in nature as this one and many will have a lower carbon footprint" - said Stuart Maister, managing director of BroadView. "Nevertheless, the difference in CO2 generated is so large, it’s clear that the web version is the greener option."

However, webcasts are not carbon-free and factored into the research was the energy used by the production crew, the webcasting servers and the PCs for viewing the event. The report from co2balance maintains that the carbon footprint of the webcast is minimal and would get smaller as the number of delegates increased. This is due to shared server usage and other shared resources, such as TV cameras and lighting.

According to the researchers at co2balance, BroadView is providing a significantly more sustainable form of conferencing than the traditional model - all by eliminating the need for air travel.

Among BroadView’s clients for virtual events has been the global accountancy body - ACCA.

"By webcasting our AGM we enable our global membership to engage with a vital part of ACCA's governance process in a way that is convenient to them and reduces the environmental impact of travel associated with attendance in person. The webcast has been very well received by members and viewings have increased substantially year-on-year" - said Michelle Nicolson, head of corporate marketing, ACCA.

"No-one will replace live events for their impact and for networking" - added Maister. "However, this report was designed to show that extending the event online - or creating additional web-based programmes to engage audiences - is a green option as well as a cost-effective one."