The climate crisis is a health crisis. So as live events gradually return to the UK, it’s time to reflect on the enormous benefits virtual events offered the health sector, and the improvements we saw in our climate over the last 18 months.
Not only has the Covid-19 pandemic had an impact on our economy, health, and personal life, but it has also changed the way all organisations, including healthcare, have carried out their professional development.
Continuing professional development (CPD) is important in the medical field, as it is in other industries in the UK, because it keeps you up to date and keeps you connected to your industry. It was virtual events that made it possible for this to continue for medical professionals during the pandemic.
Before the global crisis, the UK held roughly 1.4 million live events in 2019. But what impact did these live events have on our environment?
Every event that took place before the pandemic included environmental impacts such as transport emissions, waste, energy, water, and the transportation of refreshments.
When variables like transport and electricity usage are included in, it's estimated that the average person attending a conference for a single day in the UK produces as much as 145 kg of CO2.
This works out to be 145,000 kg of C02 for a conference of 1,000 people for one working day, which is the equivalent of driving 364,414 miles or charging 17,638,184 smartphones. For people travelling a greater distance, however, this figure can often be much higher.
But, if a 1,000-person conference was held entirely online, the carbon impact would be significantly reduced by over 95%, to just 682kg.
But, as our healthcare sector has shown over the past months, when faced with adversity, we are adaptive and innovative. By trading handshakes and complimentary refreshments for on-demand webinars and live Q&As instead, our industry has been able to refine its knowledge, while reducing carbon emissions generated by live events.
The shift to virtual events has given healthcare professionals more opportunities to meet their CPD goals without having to take time out of their busy schedules to attend live events. More chances for personal development opportunities make for a better and safer NHS.
Following the stark warning in the IPCC's most recent climate report, we can no longer afford to ignore an organisation’s carbon footprint, and the environmental benefits of hosting online events are undeniable.
Here at the National Health Executive, we are committed to helping fight the global climate crisis with our virtual competition, rewarding the winners by planting over 300 trees!
Our NHE365 Net-Zero NHS virtual event is just around the corner, and we have brought together leaders, innovators, and influencers from across the health sector to create a community that drives change through collaboration.
You can join a wide variety of healthcare professionals at our event on 25 August. Register for the event here.