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ICANN’s Carbon Footprint

As you may have seen in the Operating Initiatives document put out for Public Comment earlier this year, one of the initiatives ICANN org will undertake in support of the ICANN Strategic Plan for FY 2021-2025 includes an evaluation of the long-term effectiveness, desirability, sustainability, and financial feasibility, as well as the carbon footprint of ICANN meetings. Over the last few years, I have been asked repeatedly about ICANN's carbon footprint, and the impact of ICANN's operations, travel, and meetings.

To begin to understand our existing carbon footprint, we worked with our travel provider, FCM Travel Solutions, to assess the air, hotel and car rental impacts from ICANN org, the ICANN Board, and our funded travelers. FCM has provided us with a Carbon Emission report for calendar year 2018. This only captures travel we have booked through FCM, and does not capture 100% of ICANN funded travels. For example, it does not account for hotels for ICANN's public meetings, taxis and ride shares used in travel, cargo ships used for equipment transportation, and more. The report does not account for travelers to ICANN meetings who are not funded by ICANN, or for ICANN org's direct operations, technology, or other possible environmental impacts related to travel and meetings such as transportation of equipment, energy used in venues or waste generated.

FCM Travel's calculations are based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol), the most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions.

The air carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are calculated by estimating the CO2 emissions from air travel based on the number and distance of trips. The distance between origin and destination cities is calculated based on latitude and longitude, and then the flight is categorized as a short, medium, or long-haul trip and estimates the amount of fuel burned per mile of the trip based on a carbon index. To calculate the air CO2 emissions, the carbon index is multiplied by distance to determine the amount of fuel burned per passenger for the flight.

  • For ICANN Org, ICANN Board, and funded travelers in Fiscal Year 2018 (1 July 2017– 30 June 2018), the air CO2 emissions total 11,037,822 total CO2 lbs, with flights coming in at 28,059,281 miles and 0.39 CO2 lbs per mile.

Hotel booking CO2 emissions are calculated for each stay attached to a trip. The calculations are based on an average room size of 300 square feet and a CO2 index of 30.57 lbs CO2/night.

  • For ICANN Org, ICANN Board, and funded travelers in Fiscal Year 2018 (1 July 2017– 30 June 2018), the hotel booking CO2 emissions were 56,249 total CO2 lbs, with 1,840 nights of hotel stays.

Car rental CO2 emissions are calculated for each booking attached to a trip, with the total miles driven divided by the average fuel efficiency of a passenger vehicle.

  • For ICANN Org, ICANN Board, and funded travelers in Fiscal Year 2018 (1 July 2017– 30 June 2018), the car rental CO2 emissions total 5,818 total CO2 lbs, with 141 days of car rentals.

As you can see, these are in no way comprehensive numbers, nor have we conducted industry benchmarking. It is the beginning of learning more: an exercise to understand ICANN's impact, and an opportunity to help us eventually identify savings and efficiency in a fiscally, socially, and environmentally conscious way.

The next step will be to use this initial fact-finding to determine a more comprehensive approach to reporting, measurement, and best practices. We will share updates as we progress in this work.


    Michael Oghia  01:46 UTC on 25 September 2019

    Thank you Goran for being committed, as you have consistently stated, to evaluating and ultimately addressing ICANN's environmental footprint. I understand these things take time, and I appreciate that, in the current climate crisis we're in, this is a positive example of ICANN doing its part. I do encourage you and ICANN org as well as the board to also consider "for ICANN org’s direct operations, technology, or other possible environmental impacts related to travel and meetings such as transportation of equipment, energy used in venues, or waste generated" as an ambitious, but doable, next step. Pick the low-hanging fruit first; consult with private industry stakeholders involved in the ICANN community who are leading their sector's efforts vis-a-vis sustainability. And know there are always members of the community ready to support you. Thank you and keep up the good work!

    Patrick Myles  18:03 UTC on 25 September 2019

    Excellent initiative. thank you very much.

    TNk Design Desk  06:45 UTC on 12 October 2019

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful article

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