‘Taking Ambition to the Next Level’


SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 9, 2018 — Leaders of this year’s Global Climate Action Summit today announced the event will meet or exceed international sustainability standards for large events like concerts and conventions through actions including locally sourced food, waste reduction, conservation and other measures to limit the event’s emissions.

“This Summit will meet or exceed the gold standard of sustainability for large events—and embrace innovative ways of curbing pollution such as a 100 percent zero-emission vehicle fleet,” said Jaime Nack, director of sustainability for the Summit. “We are committed to showing that large events can be environmentally friendly when they are organized and executed correctly.”

Large events present unique environmental challenges and have the potential to consume large amounts of energy and resources. To address these challenges, the International Standards Organization (ISO) set forth an industry standard for these events—ISO 20121—that provides a road map to a climate-friendly event.

The Global Climate Action Summit will meet this international standard, and its compliance will be independently verified by a third-party global auditor.

To achieve this goal, organizers are working hand-in-hand with the City of San Francisco, local businesses, the State of California and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to curb emissions wherever possible and offset them in other areas. Sustainable elements of this event include:

  • Curbing Waste: Organizers will take actions including recycling, composting and food donation with the goal of diverting at least 85 percent of event-related waste from a landfill.
  • Locally Sourced Food: All food served during the event will be California-grown, with at least 75 percent of ingredients sourced from within 200 miles, and all dishware will be reusable.
  • Reducing Transportation Emissions: Electric vehicles, including electric bicycles, will be widely available with a free ride for the entire City of San Francisco on Scoots and Ford GoBikes on Sept. 13 and free for attendees all week. In addition, the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has curbed its greenhouse gases nearly 33 percent from 1990 levels and set targets for zero waste and zero carbon by 2021. The event will also use 100 percent electric or hydrogen fuel cell buses—the first time an event of this size is using 100 percent zero emission vehicles.
  • Carbon Offsets: In areas such as international air travel where there are currently no zero emission transportation options, event organizers will use verified carbon offsets from certified organizations to compensate for those emissions.
  • Clean Power: The venue itself will draw its electrical power from one of the cleanest electrical grids in the world.

Collectively these actions mean this year’s Global Climate Action Summit—including all those traveling from around the world to the event—will result in zero additional carbon pollution entering the world’s atmosphere. A third-party will independently verify the event’s compliance with the ISO 20121 sustainability standard—and build on and take to a new level the sustainability success of events like the London 2012 Olympics.

“For a few crucial days in mid-September, San Francisco will be the climate capital of the globe,” said Nick Nuttall, director of communications for the Summit. “This will be very much a launch pad to realizing a new, healthier, safer and more prosperous future for current and future generations. The Summit is also walking the walk, managing down its operational footprint and leaving a legacy of an event that everyone attending and millions more looking on can take pride in.”

The purpose of the Global Climate Action Summit is to bring together leaders from states and regions, cities, businesses, investors and civil society to announce bold new climate commitments across every facet of society, from greening investment flows and higher commitments to clean energy to the electrification of transportation to zeroing in on waste, forest loss and boosting corporate and sub-national emission reduction plans. Collectively these actions will help give international leaders the confidence that they can go further starting with the next United Nations Climate Change meeting in Poland this December.

In what is also believed to be a world’s first for an event of this size, the Summit’s Sustainability Road Map ties each impact area back to the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 13, which relates to the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The names of key speakers will be announced over the coming days and weeks, with the Summit scheduled to welcome over 4,000 key delegates from Africa and Asia, to Latin America, Europe and the United States.

The Sustainability Road Map was developed in accordance with the ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Management Systems standard, which was released prior to the London 2012 Olympics.

This international model prescribes a management system approach that can help any event-related organization reduce its environmental footprint and become more socially responsible, while maintaining the viability of the event. After an extensive audit process in September, ISO 20121 third-party certification will be awarded to the Summit if all requirements of the standard are met.

# # #

About the Global Climate Action Summit

The 2018 Global Climate Action Summit, hosted in San Francisco Sept. 12 to 14, will bring together state and local governments, business and citizens from around the world to showcase climate action taking place, thereby demonstrating how the tide has turned in the race against climate change and inspiring deeper national commitments in support of the Paris Agreement.

To keep warming well below 2 degrees C, and ideally pursue 1.5 degrees C—temperatures that could lead to catastrophic consequences—worldwide emissions must start trending downward.

The Summit will showcase climate action around the world, along with bold new commitments, to give world leaders the confidence they can go even further by 2020.

The Summit’s five headline challenge areas are Healthy Energy Systems, Inclusive Economic Growth, Sustainable Communities, Land and Ocean Stewardship and Transformative Climate Investments.

A series of reports are set to be launched over the coming months and at the Summit underlining the contribution of states and regions, cities, businesses, investors and civil society, also known as “non-party stakeholders,” to national and international efforts to address climate change.

Many partners are supporting the Summit, including the Climate Group, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), CAN International, Ceres, WWF and Mission 2020.

For more information on the Summit visit globalclimateactionsummit.org