PPAI has teamed with Climate Impact Partners to gather and verify the data necessary to offset the carbon footprint of three signature Association events in 2023 with the help of sponsorship from 4imprintthe No. 1 ranked distributor in the 2024 PPAI 100, earning a high mark in Responsibility.  

The three events include:

  • North American Leadership Conference
  • Women’s Leadership Conference
  • Product Responsibility Summit

To guarantee third part assurance, Climate Impact Partners brought on Nature Positive for technical review of the data provided.

“As PPAI continues to provide education and resources to members to help them in their sustainability journeys, it’s important that we share ours as well,” says Elizabeth Wimbush, PPAI’s director of sustainability and responsibility. “Moving our industry towards a more sustainable future involves learning from each other and leading by example, and I hope that this helps encourage others to consider the environmental impact of their in-person events.”

Read the full report below:

The report analyzes data concerning all three events and creates a detailed breakdown of how much greenhouse gas emissions were produced by each event. As a result, PPAI has the information needed to ensure that it can offset that amount through carbon offsetting programs.

  • PPAI can now officially announce all three events are Certified Carbon Neutral.

The Results

In order to calculate the total carbon emissions of each event, the report split the sources of emissions into 12 sub categories within five broader source categories. Those 12 categories include:

  • Mains gas
  • Electricity consumption
  • Electricity transmission and distribution
  • Staff travel (aviation)
  • Staff travel (car, taxi, bus)
  • Staff hotel stays
  • Guest travel (aviation)
  • Guest travel (car, taxi, bus)
  • Guest hotel stays
  • Landfilled waste
  • Recycled waste
  • Composted waste

As is often the case with events that bring people in from all over the country and world, guest travel by plane was the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions for each of the three events. For the total of the three events, guests air travel made up nearly 81% of greenhouse gas emissions produced.

The total calculated amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced as a result of all three events was determined to be 230.8 tCO2e, which translates to 231 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the standard measurement of all greenhouse gases based on their global warming potential. 

The breakdown of that total amount from each event is as follows:

  • Women’s Leadership Conference: 74.7 tCO2e of greenhouse gas emissions produced.
  • North American Leadership Conference: 71.7 tCO2e of greenhouse gas emissions produced.
  • Product Responsibility Summit: 84.4 tCO2e of greenhouse gas emissions produced.

All of this data is the result of a specific methodology that is implemented by Climate Impact Partners, which is available within the report.

“Because carbon accounting shares in common with regular accounting a very strict set of standards and rules to follow, the report is very thorough, which part of why I think it’s important that we share it with members, for the sake of transparency,” says Wimbush.

Offsetting Those Carbon Numbers

This data is simply a report of the greenhouse gas emissions that were produced by those three events. But without it, PPAI would not be able to know with certainty that it was offsetting that carbon production through a positive impact.

  • Wimbush was tasked with selecting the project that PPAI would contribute to in order to reduce carbon emissions and offset those created by PPAI events.
  • Ultimately, PPAI chose the Gola Rainforest National Park in Sierra Leone, after careful consideration of its impact potential and Sustainable Development Goals.

PPAI’s contribution to this emissions reduction program was made in advance. The Association chose to be overly cautious and paid to offset 439 tons of CO2e, which easily covered the 231 tons that were actually produced by the events.