Our plans for sustainable Workshops in 2024

29 January 2024

As we all continue to manage the challenges of global warming and biodiversity loss, it is important that the events industry embraces new and emerging technologies to play our part in contributing in the fight against climate change.

Last year, The Company of Biologists reinforced our commitment to making our Workshops more sustainable. We are now looking forward to our 2024 Workshop programme and will continue to implement all we have learned last year, as well as explore new ideas that can help mitigate the impact of our events.

Calculating and tracking the carbon footprint of our Workshops

In 2023, we calculated the carbon footprint of our first event using a calculator developed and maintained by the UN. This helped us identify the areas we needed to focus on to reduce the environmental impact of our events, such as waste management. This year, we will continue to monitor our progress in reducing the carbon footprint of our events, so we reinforce our efforts to reduce our emissions.

Sustainable travelling

For our 2024 events, we will continue to actively reduce the carbon impact of our transportation by providing shuttle buses or by lift sharing for other airport transfers. As well as decreasing the environmental impact of booking individual cars, we also want to make use of electric vehicles for more of our bookings, where available.

Last year, we successfully applied for additional funding to support all aspects of making our events more sustainable. This fund will be available from 2026 onwards and will include giving our attendees the freedom to choose more sustainable travel options that might be more expensive, such as replacing flights with trains if possible and prioritising direct flight routes in order to minimise the distance covered.

Continue looking for sustainable venues and suppliers for our Workshops

This year, we will have our first Workshop at Fanhams Hall, which will be our first event working with a B certified corporation. B certified corporations have to demonstrate a high commitment to environmental and social causes and also show transparency in all their activities.

We will continue looking for suppliers that share our commitment to fight climate change and reinforce our collaboration with those who already do. Working with companies that better track their emissions will give us more data to manage our own carbon output.

We are always looking for new sustainable partners to work with, so if you have any recommendations of sustainable suppliers in the event industry with high environmental, social and transparent governance (ESG) commitments, then please email us at sustainability@biologists.com. We would love to hear from you.

Obtain an A score for our menus at Workshops

Last year, we introduced sustainable menus at our Workshops, created by prioritising local, seasonal, organic and low carbon footprint ingredients. As mentioned in our previous blog, we recently ran our first event using carbon labelling for our lunches and dinners with the help of My Emissions. For these meals we obtained a score of B (low carbon footprint). We are looking forward to working with our 2024 Workshop venues to hopefully achieve our first A grade (very low carbon footprint).

Developing a vigorous strategy for managing waste

We are looking to improve our waste control strategy this year by reducing, reusing, and recycling all materials used in our Workshops.

Promoting diversity in research

The biological community thrives on global collaboration and equal opportunities for everyone, something The Company of Biologists is committed to developing. Consequently, this year, we will host our inaugural Global South Workshop, designed to offer greater opportunities for scientists from the Global South to connect and contribute within the international research community. This is an opportunity to involve Global South researchers in shaping the future in many fields of biology, and we hope this project will promote the diversity behind innovative ideas in research. Our first Global South Workshop is titled “How Global South Research Can Shape the Future of Comparative Physiology” and will take place in South Africa.

Sustainable resources for event organisers

The Company of Biologists are constantly looking for new ways to help the biologists’ community make their meetings more sustainable, as every action counts. We offer tips and advice on the best places to start on our blog page or if you contact us at sustainability@biologists.com we will be able to provide you with the information you require. We are also happy to alleviate the financial burden of putting your ideas into practice with grants from our Sustainable Conferencing Initiative.

Thoughts for the future

The events industry is creating meaningful connections within the scientific community, spreading awareness of the latest research, creating new collaborations, and promoting international partnerships. In a world that is grappling with the increasing negative effects of climate change, every conscious decision made in making events more sustainable help to create a more resilient future while maintaining the opportunities that scientific events offer to the community.

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Development Journal of Cell Science The Journal of Experimental Biology Disease Models & Mechanisms Biology Open

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