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Carbon Footprint and Conference Interpreters

Questions: what does carbon footprint have to do with conference interpreters?

Carbon footprint concerns everyone involved in the event industry, not just the event planner, the event designer and copywriter… or the end client.

As a consultant, I sometimes suggest ways of reducing the carbon footprint of my business.

We take to heart both the success of the event and its impact on the planet and on society.

– Suggesting remote interventions to reduce the carbon footprint of conference interpreters selected by us. Since the boom in videoconferencing platforms during COVID, we are offering more and more virtual events. It helped us to reduce our carbon footprint.

If the event goes hybrid – and it happens a lot – interpreters can work from their home studio. As a consequence, there’s no need to travel, stay or eat on site – all of which saves greenhouse gas emissions!

– No more printing out documents, as we use several types of electronic media to work in the translation booth. We embraced paperless and sustainable solutions to work and rework presentation documents right up to H-hour.

– Car pooling of conference interpreters + transport of audio equipment to small face-to-face meetings: substantial reductions in carbon footprint and even savings for the client.

– Public transportation solutions

– Face-to-face: indication of interpreters’ diets to avoid food waste

– Personal water bottles instead of plastic bottles, a move initiated by AIIC years ago

  • Finally, for nostalgic interpreters, a scan of the event badge will suffice to remind them the highlights of the meeting!

Consequently, the subject is increasingly addressed by our clients, when it’s not THE subject of the conference

Here are a few examples of events with a CSR or sustainable development theme:

Hotels and restaurants

CSR has become a major concern in the catering industry, whether it’s a group event with the ELIOR Group’s CSR workshops, an ecological and gastronomic event with the Green Food Festival or an event organised by a Parisian luxury hotel to recover unserved dishes or unused vegetables. Making the most of food is an essential point when it comes to obtaining sustainable development certification for a hotel establishment. It is also a great way to stand out from your competitors.

Day after day, as we talk to events professionals, our teams become more and more aware of the environmental cause.  When we get a chance to chat with an eco-responsible Chef or the Head of a gourmet establishment, we ask questions!

Awards in the green finance sector

Of course, this is a trending topic, as influencers on social media would say. But be careful not to get carried away with greenwashing!

Many financial players are trying to make themselves look greener than they are. Nevertheless, I think we are heading in the right direction. Being aware of the expectations of consumers and investors is a huge step forward.

Those involved in green finance should not simply pay lip service to the idea and start assessing their carbon footprint. This is the subject of my next point, the calculation tools.

Our carbon footprint can be measured

 We know how to calculate carbon footprint, professionally or individually, so it’s up to us to reduce it. Here are a few tools for those who are interested:

– Of course, the ADEME website is an excellent starting point

– To go further and calculate the carbon footprint of an event, you can use the cleo tool developed by UNIMEV.

Here’s a screenshot clearly showing the CO2 saved during my train journeys in 2023.

Conclusion: finally, on a personal level and as a player in the Social and Solidarity Economy, I feel concerned and I want to move the lines and even anticipate the turning point brought about by the Climate and Resilience Act, which will impose at least ONE CSR criterion on all players in public procurement, from 2026, in France.

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