A carbon neutral conference

A full carbon footprint report is to be published after the climate change conference

The COP18/CMP8 conference is being delivered in line with international standards of sustainability for events. We have built on existing best practice to leave a legacy in Qatar. COP18/CMP8 will be the largest carbon neutral event to be held in Qatar.

Strategy to minimise footprint and reduce carbon emissions from energy and water use 

We have formed a partnership with Green Gulf to monitor carbon emissions from COP18/CMP8, and to ensure that these are offset in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) guidelines and best practice industry standards. This includes emissions resulting from energy and water use at the venues; transport of participants and equipment; accommodation; and catering. A full carbon footprint report will be published after the conference.

Qatar National Convention Centre was the first building of its kind to be built to the gold certification standard of the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standard. The walls, roof and windows are designed to provide maximum insulation. The windows allow maximum natural lighting without solar gain, which would increase the need for cooling. Skylights built into exhibition halls bring in natural light. The cooling system is able to adapt to periods of low activity in each hall by reducing airflow. Solar panels installed on the roof provide 12.5 per cent of the energy used in the centre each year.

The QNCC also has water-efficiency measures, including reduced flow fixtures on taps and lavatories, and grey water recycling for irrigation. All exhibitors have been asked to avoid unnecessary energy use on their stands, to use LED lighting where possible, and to turn off equipment when not in use.

Aim of the conference is to reduce carbon emissions from transport, waste and catering

More than 400 buses will be provided for participants to travel to the QNCC and Doha Exhibition Centre, and to visit other sights and venues around the city. Each bus will replace up to 40 cars, so they will not only reduce congestion, but also carbon emissions. A proportion of the buses will use clean fuels including GTL diesel and CNG, which will help to reduce air pollution from the fleet.

Travel to and from Qatar will form the major part of the carbon footprint of the conference. Qatar Airways has one of the youngest and most efficient aircraft fleets in the world. Where possible, we have sought to ship materials used for the conference into Qatar by sea or by road.

Qatar is proud to partner with UNFCCC to make COP18/CMP8 the first major UN event to use the Paper Smart system. We intend to reduce the volume of paper used by the UNFCCC during the conference by half, by providing documentation in electronic format, and running a 'print on demand' service at QNCC. All participating organisations and exhibitors have been encouraged to restrict the use of printed material.

To reduce plastic waste, water dispensers have been provided at all venues instead of individual bottles of water, and participants are encouraged to refill their bottles from these.

We are working with suppliers to ensure that the materials and items used at the conference are disposed of responsibly, through reuse, donation to charitable organisations, recycling, and composting or energy recovery. All paper and plastic waste from QNCC and the Qatar Sustainability Expo will be collected for recycling at facilities within Qatar.

In common with other dry land nations, Qatar imports a significant proportion of its food. To reduce food miles, we have encouraged caterers to source food grown locally or within the region where possible. We have also encouraged them to use fish and other ingredients from sustainable sources, avoiding endangered species such as bluefin tuna.

All the disposable serviceware at QNCC is recyclable and made from sustainable materials. Where possible, food packaging is also made from recyclable materials.

Green principles in hotels and homes

We have raised awareness of the actions that hotels can take to improve their environmental credentials, including holding a briefing session for participating hotels. We also promote the Green Hotels Interest Group, an initiative of Qatar Green Building Council, which brings hotel managers together to share ideas and raise awareness of environmental best practice (http://www.qatargbc.org/media-center/eventspage/events_details?item=19).

As well as information about the conference, our Information Pod volunteers provide tips on how to lead a more green lifestyle to residents. All of the materials used to make the pods will be recycled after the conference.

The Qatar Sustainability Expo at Doha Exhibition Centre, open from November 26 to December 7, includes free educational presentations and entertainment for families, and provides opportunities to get involved with environmental initiatives and volunteering in Qatar.

There is a range of daily events around the city on the theme of environmental awareness, from educational talks at mosques to storytelling sessions, film screenings and tours.