This is one of the core values of CES Ethical Guidance, which applies to our operational activity as well as professionalism.
Since 2018, the goal has been for CES to become carbon neutral in its operations by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making offsets part of its conference budget.
In 2018, CES approved a motion to green its operations, beginning with conferences. This led to the creation of the Sustainability Working Group.
In 2019, CES reiterated its commitment in the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Environmental Sustainability Committee term of reference (TOR-3). This document states that, in all its activities, CES must demonstrate proactive leadership in environmental sustainability, with an initial emphasis on conferences. This direction is further expressed as a CES National Strategic principle, in which CES aims to “take a leader role in sustainability, building opportunities to align work in diverse sectors in support of sustainability, and incorporating increasingly sustainable practices as an organization.” This direction has been embedded in the Conference manual since 2018: take all reasonable measures to reduce the conference footprint.
The creation of the Sustainability Working Group was pivotal in the development of a Greening Rubric to expand on the sustainability expectation stated in the CES conference manual for annual conferences. This Rubric was first used for C2019. Since 2019, CES National and conference organizing committees have been working with the additional principles of mitigating the conference footprint and aspiring to make a positive contribution. This is how a carbon offset contribution (which is one among various actions in the Greening Rubric) was added on a volunteer basis in 2019 and has now become routine in the conference budget. As of 2024, a carbon offset has been absorbed into the conference registration fee, rather than added to the cost of registration.
In 2023, the $10 offset per registrant was proportionate to the average carbon emission of 0.2 ton per participant (Jacob, 2023) at a cost of $50 per ton (Government of Canada, 2022). The estimated total travel footprint of the 486 participants was almost 107 tonnes of CO2. Offsets collected from C2023 amounted to approximately $4000.
C2024 will use up to $4000 of carbon offset money to reimburse delegates 50% of their tickets (up to a reimbursement of $100 per direction) to encourage the use of bus or train for some or all of their trip.