SAES 2013 is Going Green!

IPS has obtained global CarbonNeutral® certification for the 6th South Asia Economic Summit, in a bid to embed a strong environmental sustainability ethos in this event.

Saman Kelegama, Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies, receives the certification from Sanith de S. Wijeyratne, Chief Operating Officer of Carbon Consulting Company, Sri Lanka (30th April 2013).

Saman Kelegama, Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies, receives the certification from Sanith de S. Wijeyratne, Chief Operating Officer of Carbon Consulting Company, Sri Lanka (30th April 2013).

The IPS worked in partnership with the Carbon Consulting Company (CCC) to obtain the ‘CarbonNeutral® event’ certification from The CarbonNeutral Company, UK. Speaking at the recent press conference, Chief Operating Officer of Carbon Consulting, Sanith de S. Wijeyeratne, said “When IPS approached us on this unique initiative, we immediately lent our support. This will be Sri Lanka’s first CarbonNeutral® Conference and demonstrates a real commitment to the climate change agenda”.

Executive Director of the IPS, Dr. Saman Kelegama, noted “after we launched the first one in 2008, the South Asia Economic Summit is now back in Sri Lanka in its 6th year. It has become the premier regional platform that debates socio-economic issues facing South Asia. Climate change is a critical issue for all countries in this region. We are happy that the CCC is partnering with us to bring in a sustainability focus to this important event and certify it as CarbonNeutral®”.

Chief Coordinator of the Summit, IPS Research Economist, Anushka Wijesinha said, “At each Summit there is a focus on environmental challenges and climate change facing South Asia during the technical sessions. But we wanted to walk the talk and truly embody the sustainability spirit in this year’s Summit and wanted to go for this carbon neutral effort”. He added that, “Hundreds of conferences and seminars with foreign participants are being organized each year in Sri Lanka and MICE tourism is growing. But we often forget the immense impact on the environment these events have – the hotels, the air travel, the domestic transport, conference materials, etc. Organizers need to think harder about how to mitigate the significant carbon footprint these events have”.

“CCC follows an internationally accepted certification methodology” says de S. Wijeyeratne.  “Our calculations are governed by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol which is the international standard for calculating GHG emissions.  The offset is carried out through our partners in the UK The CarbonNeutral Company in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol.”  Kelegama observed, “We felt it was vital to have a process that is internationally recognized and goes through a credible assessment process. There was never a question of using a local certification instead”.

The organizers further noted that it is important to sensitize individual participants on their personal carbon footprint in attending international dialogue events like this. “We will be introducing an ‘opt-in’ scheme where foreign delegates can choose to contribute to offsetting their own carbon footprint”, Wijesinha said. The organizers further noted that many elements of the Summit will embody a spirit of sustainability, including the reduced use of plastic and printed paper, use of eco-friendly stationery products, and green transport.

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