Green meetings in the new Zurich Convention Center

Integrated climate protection followst he principle: avoid unnecessary emissions, reduce existing emissions, and offset unavoidable emissions.

Roger Büchel Zurich Convention Center

«With an annual updated carbon footprint we own a tool to identify significant emissions mitigation and reduction potential and to track the effectiveness of climate protection measures over time. For instance, we cover 70% of our heating and cooling requirements by our own seawater central from the nearby lake of Zurich. By supporting a forest protection project in Peru we offset unavoidable CO2 emissions and ensure that every event in the new Zurich Convention Center is completely carbon neutral without any charge for the organizer»

Roger Büchel, Chief Executive Officer

The mechanism of carbon offsetting is based on the fact that greenhouse gases are evenly distributed in the atmosphere and greenhouse gas concentration is therefore approximately the same throughout the world. Therefore, for global greenhouse gas concentration and the greenhouse effect, it is irrelevant where on Earth emissions are caused or avoided. Emissions that cannot be avoided locally can therefore be mathematically offset by climate protection measures at another location. This offset is rendered possible by carbon offset projects.

Climate protection projects demonstrably save greenhouse gases, for example through reforestation or renewable energies. Independent organizations such as the TÜV, SGS, PwC and others monitor the exact amount of savings. The project operator can finance the project by selling certified emission reductions. Finally, only projects that require financial support are recognized as climate protection projects. Furthermore, the climate protection projects supported by the Zurich Convention Center Ltd. contribute to reach the UN Sustainability goals.

By offsetting the emissions generated at the site, Zurich Convention Center Ltd become a climate neutral company including the catering services. Due to our carbon neutral offer our clients, guests and visitors get the chance to decide deliberately to contribute to the climate protection without any extra costs.

When offsetting emissions, a saftety margin of 10% is applied to the carbon footprint. This covers uncertainty in the date used in calculation the carbon footprint abd thus ensures that the company is climate neutral. The quantity of carbon emissions to be offset amounts to 2,364,360,8 kg CO₂.

Description of methodology

In the following sections the procedure and underlying principles for calculating a Corporate Carbon Footprint in accordance with the guidelines oft he GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard ("GHG Protocol") are described.

Reporting Standard

The GHG Protocol is the internationally recognized standard for greenhouse gas accounting on the corporate level. It was developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

It defines five fundamental principles for the calculation of carbon footprints:

  • Relevance: The principle of relevance requires that all major emissions sources be considered in calculating a company's carbon footprint, and the report should be useful for internal and external decision making.
  • Completeness: The principle of completeness means that all relevant emissions sources within the boundaries must be respected.
  • Consistency: To facilitate the comparison of results over time, accounting methods and boundaries must be documented and maintained in the following years. Any changes in methodology and boundaries must be mentioned and justified.
  • Accuracy: Distortions and uncertainties should be reduced as much as possible so that the results offer a solid basis for decisions by stakeholders.
  • Transparency: The results should be presented in a transparent and comprehensible manner.

Process steps

The following steps are necessary to calculate a carbon footprint:

  • Definition of goals
  • Definition of boundaries
  • Data collection
  • Calculation of the carbon footprint
  • Documentation of results

Goals

The Corporate Carbon Fottprint serves to identify the largest sources of emission within the company and aloung the upstream and downstream value chain. It thus forms the basis for the development of a climate protection strategy in which targets, measures and responsibilities for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are defined. In subsequent years, it serves to check whether the goals have been achieved, in which areas progress has been made, and in which areas there is a need for action to reduce CO₂.

Definition of boundaries

Carbon accounting requires a clear determination of the inventory boundaries. This includes organizational and operational boundaries.

The organizational boundaries describe the organizational unit and the timeframe to which the Corporate Carbon Footprint refers.
The system boundaries may be drawn according to operational of financial control or according the equity share.

The operational boundaries describe the emissions sources that are considered within the organizational boundaries. For the classification of different emissions sources, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol differentiates between three categories ("Scopes"), which are the basis of each Corporate Carbon Footprint:

  • Scope 1
    Scope1 includes all carbon emissions that can be directly managed by the accounting corporation (direct carbon emissions). This includes emissions generated by the combustion of fossil fuels (mobile and stationary), chemical and physical processes, and use of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.
  • Scope 2
    Scope 2 represents indirect carbon emissions from purchased electricity, steam, district heating and cooling. All emissions that are caused by fossil fuel combustion by external energy providers are listed here. The identification in a separate category avoids double counting when comparing CO₂ emissions from different companies.
  • Scope 3
    All remaining carbon emissions that cannot be directly managed by the company belong to Scope 3 (other indirect carbon emissions). This includes all carbon emissions that are related to products and services used or processed by the accounting corporation. Carbon emissions that are associated with the use of sold products and services are also included if direct carbon emissions are generated.

According to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the calculation of carbon emissions is mandatory for Scope 1 and Scope 2 but voluntary for Scope 3.

Data collection and calculation

For the calculation, consumption data and emission factors are translated into carbon emissions. The data collected and evaluated are classified as primary and secondary data.

Primary data are data that are collected in direct relation to an object of investigation. Secondary data represent data obtained by the processing and modelling of primary data.

For the conversion of consumption data into carbon emissions, primary as well as secondary data from lifecycle analysis databases (e.g. ecoinvent or GEMIS) are used.

Disclosed Greenhouse Gases

The present Corporate Carbon Footprint discloses all emissions as CO₂ equivalents (Co₂e). This means that in addition to CO₂, the calculation also includes the six other greenhouse gases regulated by the Kyoto Protocol: methane(CH₄) nitrous oxide(N₂O), sulfur hexafluoride (SF₆), hydrofluorocarbons(HFCs), perfluorocarbons(PFCs) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).These gases are all converted into the global warming potential of CO₂ and thus represent CO₂ equivalents (CO₂e). For better legibility, the emissions are simply referred to as carbon emissions or "CO₂".

«The Zurich Convention Center is located in a beautiful panorama at the lake of Zurich. We appreciate the nature and our surrounding therefore we consider it as our duty to take care of the environment. In the topic of sustainability, we assume a pioneering role and work carbon neutral even including all our catering services. We cover 70% of our heating and cooling requirements by our own seawater central from the nearby lake of Zurich. By supporting a forest protection project in Peru we offset unavoidable CO₂ emissions.»

Further information about the project you find here.

 

Download PDF «Corporate Carbon Footprint»