Towards a more sustainable Goldschmidt Conference
As scientific and professional societies organising a large-scale meeting such as the Goldschmidt Conference, the European Association of Geochemistry and the Geochemical Society are particularly concerned about the environmental impact of the conference and strive to take all possible measures to minimise carbon emissions, waste and pollutants.
Coming to the conference
We recognise that coming to the conference by plane accounts for a significant fraction of a delegate’s personal carbon footprint. We’d like to stress to delegates based in Europe that Barcelona is easily reachable by train: it is 6h30 away from Paris, 10h from London, 11h from Frankfurt. This may seem a bit long, but it may not so much longer than flying when adding travel time to/from airport and various waiting times, so why not consider this eco-friendly option and drastically cut carbon emission? The train may also be cheaper and offer a more relaxing travelling experience. Think how much work you could get done?! You can easily book train tickets from anywhere in Europe to Barcelona via the French Railways website or the German Railways website.
For information, the website ecopassenger.org allows you to compare the environmental impact of different modes of travel.
For those who cannot avoid travelling by plane, purchasing carbon offsets (or carbon credits) is a personal action that we encourage. The concept of carbon offsets is to reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in one place to “offset“ emissions occurring elsewhere. When purchasing carbon offsets, you directly support projects that help develop new sources of renewable energy, promote energy efficiency, and encourage land-use and agriculture-based solutions (such as methane abatement).
Several organisations now sell carbon offsets to compensate travel-related emissions. We have verified the legitimacy of the following organisations so we recommend using one of them:
- Atmosfair is an independent German non-profit organisation which offers offsets for greenhouse gases emitted by aircraft, cruise ships, long-distance coaches, and events.
- My Climate was spun off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich in 2002 as a non-profit climate protection organisation to enable climate protection with economic mechanisms such as price-tagging carbon dioxide and integrating externality into the market.
- South Pole, headquartered in Zürich, is a leading provider of global sustainability financing solutions and services.
Once in Barcelona, we encourage delegates to travel with public transport and have negotiated a 50% discount on travel passes for the week of the conference. Those can be purchased via the Goldschmidt website.
- To reduce plastics at the conference, no plastic water bottles will be distributed but water fountains will be available throughout the venue. Cups available by the water dispensers are made of polystyrene (a more environment-friendly material than paper), but we strongly encourage delegates to bring their own travel bottle/mug.
- Lunch boxes are proposed to delegates for purchase. Each lunch box is wrapped in a paper bag, sandwiches are also in a paper wrap, and the water bottle is made of cardboard.
- We also recognise the carbon footprint of livestock production and intensive farming, no meat will be served as part of the appetiser selection during poster sessions (from Monday to Thursday) nor at any of the committee meetings of the European Association of Geochemistry and the Geochemical Society.
- To further reduce plastics at the conferences, badge holders will no longer be provided. Lanyards will be clipped directly on the name tags.
- To encourage usage of the online version of the program and reduce the number of prints, we offer a €5 discount on registration to delegates who do not select a printed program.
- Lanyards selected this year are made of bamboo, an eco-friendly material, instead of the uPVC (unplasticised polyvinyl chloride) used in previous years.
- All registration packs and program volumes are printed on FSC certified paper.
Recycling and composting
Throughout the venue, you will find recycling containers (made of cardboard) for general waste, plastics, paper, organics and glass. Of course, we ask delegates to dispose of their waste in the appropriate container.
In addition, we have chosen to only partially carpet the Exhibit and Poster Hall. Following the conference, the carpet will be recycled. You can find more information about the congress center’s waste recovery here.
Any surplus of food from the conference is donated to the local charity organisation Monjitas Misioneras Cruzadas de la Iglesia.
Additional initiatives are taken by the congress center CCIB as part of their environmental policy to manage energy consumption responsibly. For example, the staff ensures that lights/appliances are switched off, and that the air temperature is adjusted so that it doesn’t fall below 26 °C in air-conditioned areas.