ESCOM Climate Action

One of the main functions of ESCOM is to organise and facilitate national and international academic conferences, maximizing their positive academic and social impact and minimizing any negative byproducts. A conference’s positive impact can be enhanced by making it more accessible. Participation should as far as possible be based on academic quality only. It should in particular be independent of personal mobility, which is often limited by financial means, location, nationality, caring commitments, or disabilities. Participation should also be independent of gender, age, and cultural background.

The main negative impact of academic conferences is greenhouse-gas emissions from flying. The semi-virtual conference format implemented at ICMPC15/ESCOM10 in 2018 demonstrated that modern internet-based communication technologies make it possible to improve academic and social aspects while at the same time reducing emissions.

Video documenting the semi-virtual conference format: link

Written guidance on semi-virtual conferences: link

For these reasons, the following policy directions were agreed upon at the restricted Executive Council meeting held in Brussels in February 2019.

ESCOM climate policy

  • We accept the main findings of current climate science and their urgent implications for academic conference culture, and are acting accordingly.
  • We therefore aim for ESCOM conferences to be relatively low in carbon-footprint.
  • Our climate action also promotes the accessibility and cultural diversity of our events and improves the quality and quantity of our academic output by combining virtual and live participation in e.g. multi-hub conferences.
  • We are encouraging international colleagues to follow our lead.
    You can read the full policy in our position statement (pdf)