Carbon Footprint

Calculating your Club’s carbon footprint.

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This spring ESRAG Oceania launched a Carbon Calculator for Clubs in Australia and New Zealand to use to calculate their carbon emissions from meetings, events and projects. Developed by an ESRAG international team from New Zealand, UK, US and Australia with an international environmental consultancy, the calculator provides certifiable emission factors which are applied against the actual data submitted by the Club. The online tool includes an input form for Clubs to submit estimated data, typically for a year, on emissions sources including meals, electricity at the venue, waste, local travel to meetings, events, and projects, overnight accommodation, and air travel.

The input form includes detailed instructions on how to quantify the data required.

Once the Club’s data are submitted, ESRAG Oceania uses the calculator to apply the appropriate factors for the region. The Club then receives a detailed report which shows the emissions annually and by event, summarised into the various categories. Clubs are then encouraged to develop an emissions reduction plan, and to offset remaining emissions by investing in carbon credits generated by social enterprises that support the environment – typically tree planting or forest regeneration. The carbon calculator toolkit, including an overview, the input documents, and an example which can be downloaded, is on the ESRAG Oceania website

The calculator project has been in process for nearly 3 years, including pilot-testing by about 12 clubs worldwide. ESRAG Chair-Elect Pat Armstrong was chair of the calculator committee. The ESRAG Oceania Chapter decided to proceed with the final version, which was completed in March, 2022. The Calculator can also be used to estimate emissions from events and conferences. It was demonstrated recently at the District 9810 conference, for which emissions were calculated to be 3.2 tonnes CO2e. The District response was very positive.

The Rotary Clubs of Wellington, Melbourne and Doncaster have all completed the process of analysing their emissions for at least one year. Wellington and Melbourne have offset their emissions, and are able to claim carbon neutrality.

The Calculator can be modified for use by other regions, by applying factors applicable to that region. Crucial factors such as diet and mode of transportation vary considerably in different parts of the world.

Garry Fowler is Environment and Sustainability Chair of the Rotary Club of Melbourne, and was part of a panel for the May ESRAG Oceania Chapter launch of the calculator with Dr. Roger Blakeley of the Rotary Club of Wellington, NZ, who helped that club become certified as carbon-neutral. The panel also included Rotary Zone 8 Director Dr. Jessie Harman and ESRAG Oceania Chair Ted Waghorne, a member of the Rotary Club of Canterbury, Australia.