CannaTech is dedicated to minimizing the environmental impact of our global conferences. For the first time in Cape Town, when our guests bought tickets to CannaTech, they were able to opt-in to purchase a carbon offset neutralizing the environmental impact of their flights. These offset purchases have been transferred to the Giant Flag project in South Africa. So what does all of this mean? We’ve been getting some questions about carbon offsetting and what it means, so today we are laying out all the info on the Giant Flag and CannaTech.
The Giant Flag is a new model of ecologically mindful economic stimulus for previously disadvantaged communities and a celebration of the spirit of South Africa and her people.
What is a carbon footprint?
The term ‘carbon footprint’ refers to the total amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced to support human activity. The impact of GHG emissions, or global warming potential (GWP), is expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2e) released over a hundred years.
Today, we know that the GHGs produced by human industry are causing serious environmental damage. The global commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of our activities will directly impact the survival of our planet – and the cannabis industry shares in this responsibility.
What is CannaTech’s carbon footprint?
To answer this question, we enlisted the help of experts.
Eyal Biger founded the Good Energy Initiative, a Climate Changing Social Enterprise, in 2006. The Initiative develops unique and innovative projects for the implementation of sustainable technologies and environmental performance while achieving social gains. The project combines practical ecology with education and publicity with the fundamental goal of increasing human commitment to environmental protection. Eyal helped us understand the carbon cost of CannaTech, and also advised us on how to neutralize this cost.
The Good Energy Initiative audited our upcoming CannaTech Cape Town event and found that:
- The carbon emissions from the conference itself are estimated at 79 tons CO2eq. This includes all on-the-ground activities: ground transportation, energy, water, waste, construction, printed matter and workforce.
- 2/3 of event-related carbon emissions are associated with flying employees.
- The largest contributor to carbon emissions surrounding CannaTech is participants’ flights.
- An average economy return flight from Israel to Europe emits 2.5 tons CO2eq.
- With an estimated 300 attendees arriving at any CannaTech conference by transcontinental air travel, this translates to approximately 750 tons of carbon. That’s a lot of carbon.
The greatest source of carbon output at CannaTech is air travel.
What is a carbon offset?
Carbon offsetting adds a voluntary cost to emission-producing activities that promote environmental projects. This compensates for the carbon footprint, making activities ‘carbon neutral’. According to a 2018 report by Ecosystem Marketplace, $191.3 million of carbon offsets were purchased in the voluntary market in 2017. This represents 63.4 million metric tons of CO2e reductions.
While this is significant, 32 billion metric tons of emissions were produced in that same timeframe. Basically, we still have a very long way to go to carbon neutrality, but CannaTech is trying to do its part by offering event attendees the option to purchase carbon offsets. Once the offsets are purchased, the money collected is put towards an initiative that positively impacts the environment.
What is CannaTech doing to offset its carbon footprint?
For this final piece of the puzzle, Eyal put us in touch with Guy Lieberman, founder of the Giant Flag project in South Africa. The Giant Flag is a world-first green innovation project that celebrates the spirit of South Africa, her land and her people while bringing together job creation, clean energy and tourism. The Giant Flag project is building an actual giant flag made up of millions of coloured desert cacti and succulents, and a four-megawatt solar field. Built on previously-barren land, the giant, natural flag is viewable from space and the size of 66 soccer fields. The Giant Flag is a new model of ecologically mindful economic stimulus for previously disadvantaged communities and a celebration of the spirit of South Africa and her people.
When CannaTech attendees bought their event tickets, they were given the option to add a carbon offset that will be used to plant 2 hectares of spekboom, an evergreen succulent indigenous to South Africa, for 10 years as part of the Giant Flag project. Together, the Giant Flag and CannaTech will plant the green elements of South Africa’s flag. We can’t wait to see the Giant Flag grow.