A sustainable forum

Our approach

IUCN is dedicated to leading by example and committed to organising events more sustainably. The IUCN World Conservation Congresses in 2016 (Hawai’i, USA) and 2021 (Marseille, France) achieved ISO 20121 for the Event sustainability management system, an international recognition for efforts to minimise their environmental impacts. To ensure that best standard practices are aligned across IUCN events, IUCN is currently developing a best-in-class global events sustainability policy. This policy will cover travel, venue operations, catering, waste, digital waste, among other topics.

Sustainability at the IUCN Leaders Forum

At the IUCN Leaders Forum 2022, participants compensated 86% of on-site CO2 emissions; at the IUCN Leaders Forum 2023, 100% of unavoidable CO2 emissions were offset. Read our IUCN Leaders Forum 2023 Sustainability Report for details on results and reporting from the 2023 Leaders Forum.


Palexpo solar panels
Palexpo has the second largest solar power plant in Switzerland.

Find out more about Palexpo’s sustainability initiatives here.

The IUCN Leaders Forum 2024 Sustainable Event Strategy

Following a successful collaboration with the Global Destination Sustainability Movement on the global sustainability approach for the IUCN Leaders Forum 2023, IUCN renews this collaboration and its commitment to sustainable event practices for the IUCN Leaders Forum 2024. 

To set event sustainability objectives and goals, monitor progress, measure performance and identify areas of improvement, IUCN has determined several KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) with the aim of assessing the Forum’s environmental, social, and economic impact post-event.

As part of the action plan to reduce the overall footprint the event:

  • Will be paper low: no paper handouts will be allowed during the event, display copies of publications can be available onsite but IUCN favours digital communication tools (Mobile App, QR Codes, etc.) and encourages their use at the Forum to reduce environmental impact.
  • Will ban single use plastics: no single-use plastic items will be available onsite. Water fountains will be available throughout the venue to allow participants to refill their reusable water bottle.
  • Will aim to reduce waste to the maximum extent possible: residual waste generation will be avoided where possible and remaining waste will be reused, recycled and/or composted. Biodegradable paper cups and cutlery will be replaced by reusable items to reduce the amount of waste produced.
  • Will source a major part of food and beverage locally.
  • Will aim to reduce its carbon emissions by only offering vegetarian options in the menu.


Offsetting carbon emissions

For each IUCN Leaders Forum, we invite participants to contribute to nature conservation by offsetting the carbon emissions associated with their participation in the event. This includes the emissions generated by travel as well as those generated onsite by the event itself.

The calculation is based on the average carbon footprint per person from the previous IUCN Leaders Forum held in Geneva, Switzerland, in October 2023 as well as on the city of departure and the means of transportation of each delegate.

Through the online registration process, participants are prompted to contribute to one of the selected projects certified by renowned international bodies like UNFCCC, Gold Standard, or Verified Carbon Standard. The projects selected align with the IUCN Programme and Regions, prioritising those led by Members.

The list of projects may vary throughout the registration period and upon the Forum's conclusion when we acquire carbon credits. If any chosen project falls short of the total credits pledged by participants, IUCN will procure additional credits from other listed projects.

Sustainability efforts at Palexpo

Palexpo is committed to sustainability since 1993 and makes every effort to reduce the impact of its activities on the environment and involves all its employees in this process. It collaborates with partners and suppliers who have a real sustainable development policy and encourages its clients in holding sustainable events.

Palexpo applies the logic: avoid or reduce, reuse and recycle.

Palexpo SA has been certified ISO 20121 since 2018 which confirms that its activities are carried out in a sustainable manner and its buildings operated in an environmentally friendly manner.

It’s objectives and future goals are aligned with the UNSDG 2030 agenda and ensure continuous improvement by:

  • Becoming an energy-neutral building by 2030, doubling the solar power plant and saving 1 Gwh of annual consumption through structural improvements.
  • Joining the SIG GeniLac network by 2030 for remote cooling of the building using lake water.
  • Achieving Net Zero Carbon by 2050: Palexpo has signed the commitment of The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.