Wedding Tips & Advice

Calculate Your Wedding’s Carbon Footprint

You can’t ignore the green factor (not unless you want to ignore the environment). It’s here to stay. And an event as large as a wedding, unless you’re opting for the non-conventional Indie kind, leaves quite a footprint, as events can do.

The wedding of the year – William and Kate’s wedding – was estimated to have had a carbon footprint equal to 12 times the annual emissions of Buckingham palace. That’s 1,230 times the annual emission of the average home in the UK.

Even in South Africa there is a growing awareness amongst big event organisers – take the Design Indaba and Rocking the Daisies for instance – that one can’t just throw a party, one needs to do so responsibly.

Consider the air travel of your average guest flying in from Heathrow to Johannesburg – a mere 9000 odd kilometres. According to the Air Passenger Transport Conversion Factors, provided by *DEFRA, each kilometre flown expends 0.09635 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent per passenger, which you then divide by 1000 to convert it to tonnes (don’t worry about the maths, just bear with me). Thus, one passenger, 1 way is going to expend about 0.867 tCO2e (tonnes of CO2 equivalent).

This is going to be the wedding’s greatest carbon expenditure – flying – so, if you can, keep your out of town guests to a minimum.

There are various carbon calculators available to help you work out your wedding’s carbon footprint:

Local carbon calculators

  • Project90by2030
  • Food and Trees for Africa
  • Cleaner climate

International carbon calculators

  • Carbon fund (they do one specially for weddings)
  • Carbon footprint
  • Earthlab
  • WWF

Measuring does not take long, but the effect of assessing your footprint will go a long way to making you aware of where you can reduce energy and how, or how you can, conversely, offset your emissions – for instance, by planting trees.

If you want someone to green your event, contact a company like Icologie in Cape Town.

To offset carbon emissions of your wedding, contact Trees for Africa, GreenPop or Icology.

*DEFRA is the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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Happy Wedding Planning!

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