As part of its commitment to ESG best practices, MGI Worldwide accounting network strives to hold carbon free conferences
The Talent Meeting, hosted by MGI Europe and MGI UK & Ireland, was MGI Worldwide's first attempt at a carbon neutral conference. So why are we seeking to achieve this?
At the start of 2022, MGI Worldwide was accredited with the prestigious ESGmark® certification. In our bid to address the ‘Environmental’ aspect of ESG we aim to monitor the carbon footprint of some of our conferences around the world.
When Zoltan Paksy, Regional Director for MGI Europe, and Paul Winder, Regional Coordinator for MGI UK & Ireland, were booking the venue for the 2022 Talent Meeting in Amsterdam, they considered the ESG credentials of potential hotels along with their proximity to Schiphol Airport. The Hilton Schiphol Hotel has strong ESG policies that are clearly documented and is very focused on offering carbon neutral events. Where they are unable to offer carbon neutrality, the hotel has a carbon offset plan in place.
As the hotel is located at the airport no local transfers were required which was also an important factor. Consideration was then given to the supporting materials needed for the conference such as name badges, lanyards and pop-up banner stands. All of these were sourced from local suppliers to minimise the carbon effects of transportation. All products selected were made from recycled paper and cardboard with the lanyards being made from recycled plastics. After the conference, all materials were fully recyclable.
The biggest carbon impact of any conference undoubtedly arises from travel. For the Talent Meeting, delegates were
travelling from all over Europe, primarily by air. With the help of ESGmark® Nicki Lynn, MGI Worldwide’s International Business Development Manager, created a survey to record the details of everyone’s journey to the Netherlands and calculate the amount of carbon that each delegate’s travel created.
Offsetting our carbon footprint
With the help of ESGmark® it was established that travel to our event produced approximately 19 tonnes of carbon. To put this into perspective we asked ESGmark® to tell us how many trees we would need to plant to offset the effects of this carbon. This is not an exact science, but the estimate was between 600 and 900 trees, roughly ten for each delegate who attended.
Paul and Zoltan discussed the carbon offset required and agreed that each regional would take care of their respective share. With about a third of the delegates being from the UK & Ireland it meant that the region needed to invest in 200 to 300 trees.
In our commitment to strive for carbon neutral conferences, we also take into account the carbon offset programmes that many airlines have established. For example, Paul travelled with EasyJet to the Netherlands, who claim to fully carbon offset their flights. So, it was assumed that at least half of the airlines used have effective carbon offset programmes in place. Therefore, the UK & Ireland Region’s commitment to offset its members’ travel to the 2022 Talent Meeting would be to invest in 100 to 150 trees.
Shortly after the Talent Meeting, MGI Worldwide held its first Global ESG Group call aimed at connecting members around the world who share an interest in leading ESG initiatives in their firms - many interesting stories were shared.
Felix Kimoli of MGI Alekim LLP based in Nairobi, Kenya, spoke of his firm’s plans to celebrate #EarthDay on 22 April, with a tree planting initiative. He was looking for people to partner with him and MGI UK & Ireland was delighted to commit US$400 to finance the planting and nurturing of 100 trees.
MGI Worldwide is fully committed to ESG best practices. The nature of our network means that we do need to meet up in person but aim to do this with minimal impact on the environment.
Our next step, as an organisation will be how we incorporate offsetting our carbon footprint as part of our normal conference planning and budgeting. Watch this space!
The next MGI Global ESG Group calls will take place on Monday 23 May at 4pm BST (London) and Wednesday 25 May at 9am BST (London).
MGI Worldwide with CPAAI, is a top 20 ranked global accounting network and association with almost 9,000 professionals, accountants and tax experts in some 400 locations in over 100 countries around the world.