BigSpeak has launched a Carbon Offset program in 2020, becoming the first U.S. speakers bureau to go carbon neutral. Like all bureaus in the keynote speaking industry, we are in the business of moving people across the world to spread their insights and encourage positive change.
While keynote speaking is an important part of making the world a more interconnected place and facilitating the exchange of ideas across nations and cultures, it ends up adding carbon emissions when you account for flights and other travel methods. As a company that strives to be as green as possible, from reusable kitchen products in our offices to carpooling/biking incentives, the unavoidable issue of airline travel for our speakers never sat well with us.
We finally decided to do something about it. Since a carbon offsetting program had never been done by a company like ours, it took months of planning, consultations, and research into what would be most effective. Finally, we teamed up with 3Degrees, a renewable energy and climate services company, to tackle our carbon footprint and counterbalance the carbon emissions we create as a company.
We started small, measuring the footprint of our offices and employees, from commuting to travel, and then measured the more impactful numbers, like speaker travel via flights and ground transport.
Counting 1,600 flights and 3,200 gas car rides from our speakers, 265 workdays of employees commuting, plus an added 10% buffer to cover any unforeseen circumstances, we came to a grand total of 2,187 metric tons of carbon emissions to offset in 2020.
BigSpeak will be financially supporting 3Degree in their carbon offset projects that are the equivalent to planting 36,450 new trees and growing them for 10 years, taking 464 cars off the road for a year, or not using 5,063 barrels of oil.
BigSpeak President Barrett Cordero said BigSpeak took the eco-friendly leap for a handful of reasons— “Firstly, for our children and their children. Period. Secondly, as a business that emits carbon, we have a responsibility to clean up after ourselves. And finally, we want to help lead our industry forward, so others do the same. Carbon offsetting is not just for the big Fortune 500, small and mid-size businesses can do it too. It’s cost-effective and easy to facilitate. It seems obvious and honestly, I’m a little surprised we didn’t do it sooner.”
This is a major milestone for BigSpeak as we continually find new ways to reduce our environmental footprint. From the establishment of the Green Team in 2019, which can be thanked for the momentum on the carbon offset program to buying our snack in bulk thereby eliminating packaging, BigSpeak is always tweaking processes to cut out junk and reduce waste. As we encourage others to do the same, we also encourage others to help guide our efforts with new ideas, creating a community that uplifts each other and our planet.
We hope that by taking the lead in environmental protection within the speaking industry other bureaus across the country will follow and together we will all move in the right direction.
Jessica Welch is a freelance writer and a BigSpeak and Green team alumni, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and Anthropology from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Her business thought articles often appear on Business 2 Community, Born 2 Invest, and YF Entrepreneurs.