Nov 8 Anna Pakkala
Yes, our carbon footprint is one of our biggest sustainability challenges.
Our activities create significant emissions in and of themselves: waste management, catering, construction, and hauling material for Slush leaves a footprint and everyone involved contributes to it. Drawing the line at what takes place within our venues would be ignoring one of the biggest implicit footprints our activities create – what about attendees flying in from around the world, staying at hotels, and making their way to our venue?
However, eliminating this footprint entirely would also mean eliminating the positive interactions that our events and activities create, interactions which can make or break the success of a startup solving worldwide sustainability problems.
We’ve set out to balance our carbon impact scale.
This year, Slush is partnering with Fortum and CHOOOSE to offset the equivalent of not only our organization’s carbon footprint, but also that of our 20,000 attendees’ flights, food, and hotel stays for the time of the event.
The equivalent of 10,000 tonnes of carbon offsets will be made possible by Fortum, and powered by CHOOOSE, by investing in a thin film solar power project in Gujarat, India. This Golden Standard carbon offset project services the grid in an area mostly covered by a coal power plant, meaning the solar power provided can partially replace coal power in the area. The Slush-Fortum contribution is directly financing the operations of the power plant for half a year.
But it’s about more than just buying credits and calling it a day.
The environmental effects of this project is to offset our emissions. More importantly, we are using these offsets as a platform to showcase and boost startups, new ideas, tech and employment opportunities globally in clean energy. This is not the solution to our carbon footprint problem. This is about using Slush’s influence in a first step towards solving the global carbon emissions problem.
The chosen solar power project is an example of this: creating local employment, business opportunities, electricity access and testing thin film solar power technology. Our choice of partners is also no accident: Norwegian CHOOOSE, a climate action platform startup, met Fortum at Slush 2017, showcasing how climate action can be tackled by startups and how powerful startup-corporate partnerships can be.
From the start, it has been clear to us that if Slush wants to make up for the negative effects of its carbon emissions, we need to not only minimize, but also find new ways to counteract emissions. And this can’t be done simply by having our team plant trees (though that would be fun as well).
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