Virtual events ‘reduce carbon emissions by more than 99%’ claim
14 Apr 2020
The swathe of industrial and consumer trade shows cancelled in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic has boosted interest in the virtual conference market.
Recent high profile casualties in the process sector included the Water Equipment Show, Industry 4.0 Summit & Expo, CHEMUK and IChemE’s Hazards 30 events.
By contrast, the IndustryExpo.online virtual exhibition has opened a second, larger exhibition area for phase two of its quarterly launch cycle, billed as the world’s first and currently only online, full-scale interactive virtual trade show.
Organisers have referenced a recent paper ‘Making industrial exhibitions green’ to bolster their claim that virtual conferences could make a significant environmental difference as well as ensuring shows are not interrupted by lockdowns.
Said a spokesperson: “There are clearly a huge number of practical and ecological benefits to hosting an event online. However, a reliable study and comparison has not been completed on large-scale events until now. Aside from the added convenience to visitors of it being available 24/7 there is no travel required to visit a virtual conference or exhibition; other than reaching for an iPad, PC or mobile.”
Although webinars have been around for several years, there is currently only one real option when it comes to a full-scale digital trade fair in an online exhibition hall. Hence, the IndustryExpo.online industrial trade fair hosted on the V-Ex Virtual Exhibition platform was used in the test case.
The reference paper states that the number of trade shows organised during 2019 in continental Europe exceeded 2,670, bringing together over 735,500 exhibitors and 75.4 million visitors.
IndustryExpo organisers said that the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq) for a single three-day, mid-size trade show is nearly 6,000 tonnes, which would amount to millions of tonnes globally per annum.
They added that three-day conference with 800 attendees had a carbon footprint of 455 tonnes of CO2 equivalents (CO2-eq), corresponding to an average of 0.57 tonnes CO2-eq per participant.
The main contributors to emissions are travel activities, which accounted for a total of 378 tonnes CO2-eq or 0.47 tonnes CO2-eq per attendee. These are followed by hotel overnight stays (39 tonnes CO2-eq in total) and catering (20 tonnes CO2-eq, 0.25 tonnes CO2-eq per individual).