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Next steps towards a net zero IETF

  • Greg Wood IETF LLC Director of Communications and Operations

22 Mar 2023

Built with input from the IETF community, we now have an initial approach and tools for calculating the IETF’s carbon footprint and a strategy for carbon offsetting. For 2023, we will implement this approach with data already available and seek to further improve it for future years.

IAB workshop on environmental impacts

Last year, after introducing the project to measure and offset the carbon emissions of the IETF with a goal of potentially reaching net zero emissions, IETF LLC staff and Secretariat worked with a consultancy to develop a method for calculating the carbon footprint of the IETF’s meetings and ongoing operations. The project included a close review of the IETF operations to develop a calculator based on established international best practice. 

For offsetting, input from the IETF community helped shape an approach that adhered to well-established international standards and aligned with preferences expressed by IETF participants that offsets should create significant social co-benefits and correspond geographically with IETF activities. 

The full report provides much more information about the calculation methodology and details about the carbon offsetting strategy we expect to take this year, as well as how both were developed.

Throughout 2023, we will keep IETF participants informed about carbon footprint calculations and the steps we are taking to offset emissions related to IETF activities. Importantly, and as noted at the outset of the project, emissions reductions by changing how the IETF operates, such as by reducing the number of in-person IETF meetings, are out of scope for this effort as those should be community-led discussions. We do hope to explore ways we might achieve more accurate calculations, for example by participants possibly providing additional information about their travel to IETF meetings.

All IETF participants are invited to the “C02 measurement and offsetting” side meeting at 8:30 JST on 30 March 2023 (23:30 UTC on 29 March) during the upcoming IETF 116 meeting to continue the discussion and explore each of these topics. Further details, including remote participation information, are available on the IETF 116 side meeting wiki. Further discussion is encouraged on the admin-discuss mailing list.

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