South by Southwest Hops on Carbon Neutral Bandwagon

Known by indie film buffs, indie music fans and new media aficionados alike as an incubator for cutting-edge culture and art, the South by Southwest Music, Film & Interactive Conferences (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, has put another notch in its progressive belt by making the event and business carbon neutral. They've partnered with Green Mountain Energy Company, an Austin-based renewable energy market leader, to offset 100% of the carbon emissions arising from SXSW business activities. SXSW has offset 250 metric tons of carbon emissions (that's 100% of the footprint they calculated) by purchasing 376 megawatts of Texas wind energy carbon credits from Green Mountain Energy Company. In addition, the company has given a $5000 donation to the Austin Parks Department for the purchase and maintenance of native trees. But they aren't just writing a check without thinking about what creates the carbon in the first place. "It's important to say that SXSW is not simply offsetting its carbon emissions," said Una Johnston, SXSW's UK & Ireland Manager and Environmental Consultant, in a press release. "We are preparing an emission reduction strategy for the next four years as part of an environmental policy initiative. Roland (Swenson, SXSW's Managing Director) and Eve (McArthur, the Operating Director) have already taken steps to reduce our footprint by replacing the inefficient heating and cooling system in the office and adding insulation to the building. When SXSW takes place in March, the Festival will be working with Ecology Action of Austin to recycle all waste from our outdoor parties and events and will use biodiesel in generators and production trucks."SXSW used the standards, guidelines and tools contained in the World Resources Institute's GHG Protocol to calculate the carbon emissions for the year. "Climate change is a global challenge with serious consequences for our social and economic infrastructure as well as the natural environment. However we all realize that long-term solutions require emission reduction efforts by the entire economy," said Johnston. Based on what we learned from NRDC's video from last year, and the general greening of Austin, we aren't surprised that they're stepping up to help make going green a little bit more hip. The conference is scheduled for March 9 - 18; you can register to attend here. ::South by Southwest

Tags: Carbon Neutral | Carbon Offsets | Energy Efficiency