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The future is virtual: Significantly reduce your event’s carbon footprint with Virtuworx, The ultimate virtual events platform

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a global shift in how and where we host events. This is an important shift that has challenged us to do things differently, to become more sustainable in our thinking and, most importantly, to innovate. Virtuworx’s virtual events offer event organisers an agile and immersive platform where attendees can still connect and engage meaningfully. The Virtuworx virtual events solution also has the added benefit of drastically cutting down on the carbon footprint of an event and as an environmentally conscious company, it’s a benefit that we are proud to offer to our customers.

What does the carbon footprint of virtual events really look like?

In 2020, we partnered with the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) to host the organisation’s flagship Annual Convention in Virtuworx’s BETA phase. This was also the first time that the convention was held virtually. The Virtuworx solution perfectly aligned with the organisation’s core values and objectives. The virtual solution not only drastically reduced the
carbon emissions from their in-person event but allowed the built environment community to continue the conversation while giving the earth time to heal.

“We positioned this year’s convention as the year in which we’re turning vision into action, by taking responsibility for the future we want. Thank you for the innovation. Thank you for taking the plunge to step us into this new virtual world,” said, Ilse Swanepoel, the outgoing GBCSA chair, in response to the phenomenal support the organisation received for the virtual convention.

The proof is in the numbers though, which begs the question, how much do virtual events really cut down on carbon emissions?

According to a recent whitepaper, Making Industrial Exhibitions Green, published by environmental impact assessment and sustainable technologies expert, Dr Chiara Civardi, the average three-day conference attended by roughly 800 people has a carbon footprint of 455 tonnes, 0.57 tonnes of carbon emissions per average participant.

Travel to the event makes up about 0.47 tonnes per person, with hotel stays and catering services accumulating the rest. Studies conducted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have found that virtual events can reduce the carbon footprint of in-person events by a whopping 99 percent, making it a far more sustainable solution. Go Climate recently measured the carbon footprint of the server that is required to run the Virtuworx virtual events solutions. They estimate that a non-green electricity-powered server (the option with the heaviest carbon footprint) emits 916 kg of carbon dioxide per year. While this may seem quite substantial, it is significantly less than the tonnes and tonnes emitted by in-person conferences and trade shows.

This is just the beginning

The Green Building Convention held by GBCSA and organised by South African PCO, idna, on the Virtuworx platform was a huge success. Considering that it was held in Virtuworx’s BETA
phase, this was just the beginning of great things to come. “At idna we believe in the power of big ideas and combined with being early adopters of Virtuworx’s virtual technology, we are able to drive innovation in the meetings industry. It is exciting to have been involved in the development stages of a platform that will revolutionise how we connect and engage with each other in a world that is becoming increasingly environmentally conscious and virtual. This allows us to deliver exceptional value to our clients and to play our part in creating real human connections and experiences in an online environment.” said Tamlynne Wilton-Gurney, CEO and chief ideas officer at idna.

Through the Virtuworx solution, GBCSA was able to reach a wider audience as the virtual convention was made even more accessible without the need for travel, accommodation and the usual costs associated with an in-person event. By testing the platform in its BETA phase on an event of this caliber and scope, Virtuworx was able to identify and solve issues on scale. The event presented a lot of invaluable learnings to help take Virtuworx to the next level. The result is an enhanced, state-of-the-art virtual events platform that is a trailblazer for virtual events technology around the world.

“When you try anything new, it is a challenge. But it also gives you opportunities, and I believe that the opportunities we were given with this new forum and the new platform are greater than any challenges we had,” said GBCSA CEO, Lisa Reynolds.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of hosting the Green Building Convention virtually was to encourage people to try something new. Then, there were the additional issues of connectivity, outdated laptops and company security policies that made downloading the platform challenging. Virtuworx solved these issues by developing a user-friendly, accessible and simple web portal as a back-up for those who were unable to download the platform.

What’s next for Virtuworx and GBCSA?

Virtuworx is committed to nurturing partnerships with like-minded organisations that are committed to making a difference. With this in mind, Virtuworx and idna are developing a virtual
environment tailored specifically to GBCSA. The GBCSA virtual campus will be a virtual fixture for the organisation where their member community can network, work remotely, attend meetings, attend training sessions and webinars, access on-demand content, and more. GBCSA, in turn, continues to embrace virtual innovation. In 2021, they are hosting a hybrid convention that offers attendees the opportunity to either attend in person in Cape Town or virtually. “As we continue to adapt to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and with climate change effects being felt more around the world, it all comes down to ONE. We only have ONE chance to get it right. ONE chance to implement the roadmap to sustainability and regeneration to save our ONE planet for this generation and the next” said Reynolds.

To find out what Virtuworx can do for you and to request a demo, click here.

For more information about GBCSA, visit their website.