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2 minutes to read Posted on Thursday November 21, 2019

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Nicholas Jarrett

Nicholas Jarrett

Senior Marketing Manager , Europeana Foundation

Europeana 2019: Building a sustainable event

In recent years, the threat of climate change has been a topic of conversation around the world, and Europeana has been listening. We have organised our annual conference, Europeana 2019, with our planet in mind, and this post explores some of the decisions we’ve made to help create a more sustainable event.

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Italian Landscape with Umbrella Pines

Offsetting our carbon footprint

Europeana 2019 will see over 350 change-makers in digital cultural heritage come together over three days in Lisbon, offering a fantastic opportunity for networking, discussion, and reflection. However, we appreciate that all of those air miles have an impact on our planet. Therefore we’ve worked with Trees for All to plant 216 trees in the Netherlands to help offset our collective carbon footprint from the conference. The organisation plants dozens of acres of forest every year, both in the Netherlands and abroad, and protects existing forests and woodland to contribute to improving the standard of living of people in developing countries. Trees for All work heart and soul for a green and healthy planet, and we are very happy to work with them to reduce the environmental impact of Europeana 2019. 

The conference is also the first time we’ve introduced livestreaming at a Europeana event. Now anyone can watch the plenary sessions from the comfort of their home or office.

Making Europeana 2019 paperless

Another first for a Europeana event - this year we will not be producing a paper programme. Instead, we’ve invested in Sched, an online programme and digital event tool that allows you to create, save, and share a schedule for the conference. You can also link Sched up with your social media profiles to see what your colleagues are getting up to, and view who is attending sessions so that you can network ahead of meetings. It’s free to register and you can keep your profile private if you do not want to take advantage of the networking elements.

Reducing single-use plastics

We won’t be offering single use plastic bottles during the conference. Instead, we’ve teamed up with EPAL, Lisbon’s water suppliers, to provide sustainable Fill Forever bottles for every attendee of Europeana 2019. Fill Forever bottles are reusable and recyclable and ultra-light to carry about with you at all times. They can be refilled using the water coolers available throughout the National Library, and we will also serve coffee, tea and water at breaks throughout the conference. We encourage all attendees to bring their reusable coffee cups!

Reducing our meat intake

With the kind support of our partners, The National Library of Portugal, we have committed to making 70% of the conference meals vegetarian. Ingredients used for meals at Europeana 2019 have been sourced from local markets.

Europeana Foundation Executive Director Harry Verwayen says:

 'Reducing our carbon footprint is very important and starts with an increased consciousness of the problem. For example, we found out recently that the digital services we maintain have a carbon footprint equivalent to the travel undertaken by staff at the Europeana Foundation. So where possible, we now use trains instead of planes and offset our carbon footprint for the flights we do take. But we are also working on reducing redundant software and aim to work with tech providers who use renewable energy only (check out the work of the Green Web Foundation). Reduce where you can, offset where you can't - an approach we are taking to Europeana 2019.'   

Whilst we know these steps won’t change the world on their own, we hope to contribute to a sustainable cultural heritage sector and planet at Europeana 2019 and beyond. You can read more on Europeana’s carbon footprint and a call to action to the network by Europeana Network Association Members Councillor Barbara Fischer.