Sustainability at DrupalCon - Carbon Offsets

Feb 21

The reason DrupalCon is such an amazing event is the people. When you gather a large group of people together, it creates an awesome energy. Unfortunately, it also creates an impact on the environment.

We feel producing a conference that is as environmentally sustainable as possible is important. Next week we will post about what we are doing to lessen the environmental impact of the trash (who doesn’t love to read about garbage?) we produce. Today we will focus on the impact that happens before attendees even set foot in the conference center and what can be done about it.

In 2012 we calculated DrupalCon’s carbon footprint using the Denver Convention Center's carbon calculator. What did we learn?

  • 97% of the carbon footprint of our conference came from air travel. The conservative estimate was we generated 1182 Metric Tons of CO2.
  • 2% came from Energy Usage (electrical and gas)
  • Less than 1% came from all other sources.

Since Denver, we have begun offering a link to our carbon offset partners, to make it easy for attendees to offset their travel. Many people have asked us "What is a carbon offset?"

What is a Carbon Offset?

In the simplest terms, here's how it works: When you take a non-stop round trip commercial flight – say from Denver to Austin – your portion of that flight generates .64 tons of CO2.

When you purchase a carbon offset, the organization uses the money to plant enough trees to absorb an equal amount of carbon. Very simple.

How Expensive is a Carbon Offset?

You can offset the trip to Austin for $6.34. Not only that, but if you check your company travel policy, you may find it will reimburse for carbon offset expense as part of its own sustainability policy.

Because we are passionate about doing what we can to limit the environmental impact of DrupalCon, but also passionate about respecting individual choice, we don’t make carbon offsets compulsory and we do not include carbon offsets in the registration process in any way.

We do invite our community to participate on a totally voluntary basis.

We have no financial relationship with Co-Tap, our partner. 100% of the donations they receive go to their projects, however they do provide us with reporting so we can track our progress. Please visit their DrupalCon Austin Carbon Offset site to learn more.

If you have questions about carbon offsets, or would like to know more about sustainability at DrupalCon, let us know!

Image from USFS Region 5 on Flickr.

Learn More About Carbon Offset


gdemet’s picture

I'm really glad that DrupalCon is continuing to prioritize sustainability and I'm looking forward to hearing about how the conference is working to keep its footprint as small as possible.

One important way that organizations like DrupalCon can reduce their carbon footprint is by following sustainable Web design best practices. As this ALA article points out, excessive page weight is a key contributor to the size of the Web's carbon footprint.

The cover image used on for this post is a 736K PNG. By converting it to a compressed JPEG, it should be possible to reduce the weight of this page by more than half a megabyte, and help reduce the carbon footprint of the DrupalCon website. The difference will also be appreciated by mobile and low-bandwidth visitors to the site.