The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is compensating for the environmental impact of its 2015 Annual Meeting and Business Forum in Tbilisi with offsets from the Enguri hydropower plant (HPP).
The refurbishment of the Enguri HPP, Georgia’s largest power plant, was financed by the EBRD and involved the increase of the operating capacity of its power generation units. This in turn allows for a better utilisation of Georgia’s hydropower potential, replacing electricity that would otherwise have been produced from fossil fuels, hence resulting in a substantial reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the country.
The EBRD was also instrumental in the project’s registration under the Kyoto Protocol Clean Development Mechanism, a recognised offset standard administered by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Additional support was subsequently provided to determine the best route to market for the project’s emission reductions that have been realised since 2013 as well as their verification.
The Bank engaged carbon consultancy EcoAct in support of this year’s carbon neutral initiative. EcoAct calculated the event’s carbon footprint, covering the emissions of the participation of some 2,000 delegates. Emissions related to their travel, stay and energy consumed in buildings used during the event and hotels have been taken into account for this purpose. EcoAct also secured the purchase of offsets, and will eventually certify the event as carbon neutral.
The EBRD has consistently offset greenhouse gas emissions related to its Annual Meetings in Istanbul (2013) and Warsaw (2014). This year’s Annual Meeting in Georgia will be one of the first major carbon neutral events in the country.
In the spirit of the Bank’s Sustainable Resource Initiative, the Bank seeks to minimise its environmental impact where possible. For example, the EBRD is actively seeking to reduce the amount of waste consumed in the run up and during the Annual Meeting and Business Forum.
Particular emphasis this year is placed on recycling, such as water bottles and printed materials. The EBRD has purchased around 50 bins from local NGO, COOP, to be used during the Annual Meeting and Business Forum in Tbilisi to ensure that the waste produced during those days is being recycled.