Industry leaders, delegates, buyers and visitors attending World Travel Market Africa (WTM Africa) in Cape Town will have the opportunity to reduce their trip’s carbon footprint by supporting Greenpop, a non-profit organisation that focuses on forest restoration, urban greening, food gardening and environmental awareness projects across sub-Saharan Africa.
“Sustainability is top of mind at this year’s event and more and more delegates want to make a difference,” said RX Africa representative, Megan Oberholzer.
Delegates can buy a tree for just R120 (€8) on the Greenpop website to reduce their carbon footprint and make a meaningful contribution to ecosystem restoration.
“Greenpop is looking forward to the upcoming WTM Africa conference and being able to engage with innovative tourism operators and organisations. With their help, we hope to plant thousands of trees to restore forests in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Carla Wessels, Greenpop Partnership and Communications Manager.
Oberholzer said the initiative was important as conferences traditionally had a heavy environmental footprint. “Several factors contribute to this. For a start, most delegates need to travel to the venue and, even if air travel is not required, they still make use of shuttles, buses and taxis to travel to and from meetings and post-conference social events.
“Added to this, the materials used by delegates amplify the impact. Often, food is sourced from various locations to prepare delegates’ meals and there is frequently a large amount of food waste. Name badges, pens, pamphlets, writing pads and paper all carry their own carbon footprint. There is also the question of increased energy usage as well as waste disposal for the duration of the event,” she said.
Oberholzer gave the 2015 Paris Climate Talks as an example, saying it had generated more than 300 000 tons of carbon dioxide.
However, she added that role players in the events industry were exploring ways to offset emissions and reduce their carbon footprint more than ever.
“Delegates at WTM Africa can take heart from the knowledge that the trees they purchase from Greenpop not only help to mitigate climate change, they also boost biodiversity, prevent erosion and recharge groundwater, while providing habitats for animals. This initiative has so many benefits. We’re proud of the fact that one simple action can have such significant and far-reaching impact,” said Oberholzer.