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  • Where blue meets green: How to mitigate environmental impact as Melbourne's aviation rises

    February 28, 2023

    Melbourne’s aviation is on the up so how do we mitigate the environmental impact?

    While Mother Nature got a respite from excessive air travel over the previous few years, Melbourne’s aviation is rapidly returning to pre-Covid levels. In fact, by April 2023 Melbourne Airport will be at 80 per cent of 2019 capacity.

    Here’s a snapshot to show how fast Melbourne’s aviation is moving forward:

    • Earlier this year, the airport welcomed back seven out of eight airline partners from China.
    • Melbourne is experiencing a 160 per cent increase in capacity out of Vietnam.
    • Emirates is increasing services from two to three flights daily between Melbourne and Dubai via Singapore, returning the service to its pre-Covid capacity. 
    • There are 11 new weekly direct air services with Air India and Qantas to Melbourne.
    • Qantas is commencing flights to Jakarta, flying three times per week to our largest neighbour Indonesia.
    • Garuda Indonesia is expanding its Australian capacity over the coming months.

    Ensuring carbon emission goals while embracing increasing aviation

    Although these statistics are welcome, the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) are conscious of the atmospheric carbon burden generated out of the aviation industry.

    With the rapid return of aviation to Melbourne, an opportunity presents itself for event planners to review and reset sustainable practices throughout all touchpoints of their business event. Even if a conference is net-zero, delegate travel is not always so.

    Ensuring Melbourne is a sustainable destination for business events is a key goal of MCB and as an organisation, it has committed to embedding sustainability in its operations with a range of resources available that will help event organisers minimise their carbon footprint.

    Garden on rooftop with Melbourne skyline in background

    Image description: Melbourne Skyfarm is a collaboration between Melbourne-based sustainability companies to transform a 2,000 square metre rooftop car park into an urban farm, environmental oasis and unique event space in the heart of the city. 

    As an event planner, how can you ensure maximum outcomes for sustainable delegate travel when coming to Melbourne?

    One simple action with a massive impact is to look carefully at your preferred airline’s own sustainability commitments. And if delegates are booking their own flights, actively promote airlines well regarded for their work (not words) in the sustainability space.

    Ask questions such as:

    • What is their net zero carbon emission commitment target?
    • What carbon offsetting programs do they offer delegates when booking their flights?
    • Are they investing in newer, fuel-efficient aircraft that have a much smaller carbon footprint?
    • How do they offset their own ground and corporate travel emissions?

    For example, Australia's largest domestic and international airline Qantas is committed to reducing its impact on the environment. So much so, it was the second airline group in the world to announce it would commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

    Qantas currently operates one of the largest carbon offset programs in the aviation industry, with approximately 10 per cent of customers booking flights choosing to offset their flights through its Fly Carbon Neutral program.

    The airline has doubled the number of flights where carbon emissions are offset, by matching every dollar spent by customers through the optional offsetting scheme available to passengers when they book tickets.

    It has been offsetting its own ground and corporate travel emissions through the program since 2007. And invested in newer fuel-efficient aircraft, such as Qantas's Boeing 787s and Jetstar's Airbus A321neos, that have a much smaller carbon footprint.

    Once you’ve researched and encouraged delegates to book with airlines that reflect your organisation’s sustainability plans - look closely at what the actual destination can offer to further reduce your business event’s carbon omissions.

    Chef picking fresh herbs at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition CentreMelbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre set the bar high with their ambitious sustainability initiatives.

    Going green, from the sky to the ground

    You’re in good hands. Melbourne has been ranked the number one sustainable city in Australia in 2022 and number one sustainable destination in 2021, in the Asia-Pacific region for business events in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index)

    Upon arrival, Melbourne offers many opportunities for delegates to minimise their carbon footprint

    It’s easy to get around Melbourne by foot: Event attendees will experience the incredible walkability of the city. Set on a grid layout, the city is easy to navigate by foot. All delegates are provided complimentary maps to encourage them to use public transport or walk between venues to limit their impact on the environment.

    Trams are offset by renewable energy: Melbourne’s transport is largely environmentally friendly attributed to its extensive tram network.  Offering free travel in the city centre, trams are 100 per cent offset by renewable energy thanks to two Victorian solar farms.  

    Electric bikes are easily accessible: Delegates can choose to use the apps to hire electric bikes or scooters on demand for a fun, affordable and sustainable option of getting around Melbourne. 

    Melbourne tram with city skyline in background

    The city’s business event suppliers also take their sustainability commitments to the next level

    For example, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre became the first convention centre in the world to be awarded a 6-star Green Star environmental rating. And they are currently setting the bar high with their ambitious sustainability initiatives.

    One of MCB’s other venue partners, Crown Melbourne, installed nearly 1000 solar panels and became the largest rooftop solar system in central Melbourne.

    Melbourne’s future is bright (green)

    The City of Melbourne is taking strides towards climate change with initiatives to make sure our city stays green, safe and accessible for everyone.

    In 2020, the City of Melbourne consulted with climate change experts and the community to develop a Climate Change Mitigation Strategy to 2050 which aligns to the Paris Climate Agreement.

    The City has also adopted a new Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 that sets targets and identifies actions the city will take to reduce waste, increase resource recovery and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from waste.

    On top of this, the Victorian State Government has made a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.

    Ask MCB for ideas and support to make sustainable choices

    As Victoria’s lead agency in the acquisition and delivery of business events, we actively encourage our clients to make sustainable choices and host events in line with recognised sustainability standards.

    MCB has a range of resources available on our website and in our sustainability toolkit that help event organisers minimise their carbon footprint.

    We also recommend using a carbon footprint calculator to capture emissions and consider budgeting to offset these emissions.

    Get in touch with the MCB team for assistance or download our sustainability toolkit