In A First, Kerala Govt’s Global Meet Sets Model To Achieve Carbon Neutrality

Conforming to the global sustainable development agenda, the second edition of the International Conference on Gender Equality (ICGE) organized by The Gender Park in partnership with UN Women on February 11-13 in Kozhikode gained credits for being the “First Carbon Neutral Event in Kerala”. The high-profile conclave, inaugurated by Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan in the presence of state’s Minister KK Shailaja Teacher, was themed on ‘Gender in Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Social Business: The Mediating Role of Empowerment’. Over 90 speakers from 20 countries attended 17 sessions. Participants, with a wider base joining virtually, included policymakers, academics and professionals. The themes and discussions were in consonance with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlighting Kerala’s continued commitment to achieving objectives by 2030.

With sustainability as its core theme, the global meet held at The Gender Park’s new campus followed PAS 2060 and ISO 14064 Carbon Neutrality Standards that set out the requirements for conducting and demonstrating carbon neutrality – allowing the event to improve environmental credentials with accuracy and transparency. The Gender Park achieved its mission of carbon-neutrality at ICGE II by taking on board Vydyuthi Energy Services (VES), a Kerala-based energy and carbon consulting startup which is recognized by the UN WEP, who provided an overall framework for validating and preparing the calculations, and documentation of the entire event's direct/indirect emission sources.

The first step was to reduce energy usage by using efficient LED lightings with centralized custom controls, LED display screens over LCD projectors, minimal usage of diesel generators at the conference venue, thus significantly reducing the Scope 1 emissions of CO2. Scope 2 emission, which is the utility energy from the state’s electricity board, was also validated. The event used eco-friendly items and avoided single-use plastics. Close monitoring to reduce dependency and operational efficiency of fossil fuel-based transportation systems were considered to reduce the associated Scope 3 emission sources. The event had a certain amount of emissions that were inevitable and these emissions will be compensated by purchasing certified emission reduction credits, preferably from Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects registered in India.

Dr PTM Sunish, CEO of The Gender Park, said “We are committed in promoting sustainable projects and aims to become a role model in supporting the state in its journey towards creating a #CarbonNeutralKerala”.