How Much Carbon Can Be Saved from Virtual Conferences?

New research shows that the carbon saving from just one virtual conference could power 17 homes for a year.


Reducing Carbon Footprint


Research from Ezra, the leading provider of digital coaching, has revealed how UK businesses can seriously reduce their carbon footprint by maintaining some form of virtual practice within the workplace in a post-pandemic landscape.

While we all may be a little sick of daily Zoom meetings, the prospect of returning to big corporate conferences that often require a few days away from home may also bring on a cold sweat.

Putting the time away from home in a below-par hotel to one side, these big conferences often see a huge level of plastic consumed from plastic cutlery to water bottles and coffee cups. While many in the hospitality sector are looking for eco-friendly alternatives to combat this huge level of plastic waste, another aspect of these events can also be bad for the environment, and that’s the attendees themselves.


How Much Carbon Can Be Saved?


It’s estimated that across the UK, the average person attending a conference for just a single day emits as much as 145 kg of C02 once factors such as travel and electricity usage are accounted for. However, for those travelling a more substantial distance, this figure can often be far higher.

That’s 145,000 kg of C02 for a conference of 1,000 people over just one single working day, the equivalent of driving 364,414 miles or charging 17,638,184 smartphones.

To put this into perspective, in 2019, before COVID struck, the UK hosted 1.4m conferences and business meetings alone.

However, if a conference of 1,000 people were to be conducted in a virtual capacity, it could reduce this carbon footprint substantially. By nearly 95% in fact, as the C02 emissions would amount to just 682kg.

That’s a reduction of 144,318kgs of C02 emissions in just one day, for one single event, enough to power nearly 18 homes to an entire year.


Founder of Ezra, Nick Goldberg, commented:

“There’s no doubt that many of us are looking forward to a return to normality and a digital workplace detox, having spent well over a year conducting our professional lives in an online capacity. There’s also no doubt that large scale professional conferences will always play a vital role within the professional world, if only as a great opportunity to network and meet new people.

However, the last year of remote working will have caused many big businesses to realise that virtual platforms can be a very powerful, cost-saving tool. Whether it be for large scale staff meetings, cross country catch-ups or even something as simple as staff training.

The additional silver lining is that virtual meetings can be a very easy way for many businesses to significantly reduce their carbon footprint and with many of us having already adapted to this way of life, it’s something we can implement immediately.”