Offsetting flights and all other emissions in the value chain, Slush sets the bar high for taking responsibility for its carbon footprint

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Towards carbon negative Future

Slush is a student-driven, not-for-profit movement originally founded to change attitudes toward entrepreneurship. What started as a gathering of 300 local founders in 2008 has become a community of true global magnitude and one of the largest event productions in Finland. The mission of Slush remains the same: to create and help the next generation of groundbreaking entrepreneurs. In 2021, 3,200 startup founders and operators, 1,700 investors, and 1,100 volunteers joined Slush in Helsinki on December 1–2, with 8,800 attendees in total. As Slush is a global physical event with attendees from all over the world, there is quite a bit of traveling involved, especially quite a few flights. Even though the conference can have a clear positive impact on the climate, with Cleantech startups meeting investors and speakers and inspiring attendees to build a better future, it has a sizable carbon footprint. Conscious of this issue, Slush has adopted the path to reduce emissions that cannot be avoided and compensate for the rest. The event has taken measures such as using only tap water and biodegradable disposables such as plates, cutlery, adopting strict recycling practices, and sourcing all Slush volunteer clothes from companies manufacturing 100% recycled clothes. Slush also encourages attendees to use public transport to join the event and bring their bottles to save disposable cups.

The total carbon footprint for Slush 2021 has been estimated to be 3,400 tonnes of CO2e, for a scope including emissions directly related to the main event (production, energy, transport, food, waste management, etc.) and emissions caused by the organization of the event during the whole year, but also emissions caused by attendees such as travel and accommodation during Slush. Actually, 86% of the total footprint of the event comes from attendees flying from all over the world to Helsinki. Instead of taking the easy route of dismissing this as the sole responsibility of attendees, Slush wanted to be coherent with its objective of minimizing the harm they do while amplifying the good and took the bold decision to offset the total carbon footprint of the event, also taking responsibility for the impact on the climate of the increased air travel it causes. "The purpose of Slush is simple: Accelerate the sustainable progress of humankind with entrepreneurship. To first gather the greatest minds of our planet under one roof and then successfully create a thought-provoking environment for them, we need air travel and out-of-this-world event production." This bold approach to compensation would be meaningless if realized through offsetting projects of poor quality. Slush selected Compensate as their carbon offsetting partner for their expertise in curating a portfolio of high-integrity carbon capture projects, for the transparency of their operations, and the similar purpose-led nature of the nonprofit organization. "From the first days when we started building the event for 2021, we knew that promoting environmental sustainability has to be part of our program and that we need to aim towards carbon neutrality in all of our actions. We are happy that people and organizations help us make this happen. Still, the bar needs to be set even higher, and we're constantly looking for new ways to become more sustainable or better at promoting sustainability. If you have something in mind that could help us make a bigger and better impact on the planet, let us know. We're now planning the 2022 event.”

Read more about Slush and their approach to a carbon negative future . (Image: Esa-Pekka Mattila / Slush)

"From the first days when we started building the event for 2021, we knew that promoting environmental sustainability has to be part of our program and that we need to aim towards carbon neutrality in all of our actions."

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