Director’s Notes

Director’s Notes




Sarah Timm, CAE, CMP-HC

ACNP Executive Director


ACNP is now a Carbon Negative Meeting –

What Does That Mean?!?


“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
-Robert Swann


In 2018, the staff at Parthenon Management Group (PMG) made a commitment to have all the
meetings we manage be 100% carbon neutral by 2022. Thanks to the Pandemic, we achieved
that goal by 2020 and 2021. Now that we are back to in-person meetings, PMG has set a new
goal of having all PMG managed meetings 100% carbon neutral by 2026. ACNP is leading the
way in achieving this goal for PMG. Beginning with the 2021 Annual Meeting in San Juan,
ACNP not only carbon off-set, but made the meeting carbon negative by donating more than the
offset to two charities focused on planting trees and clean water initiatives. I am very proud of
this commitment by the College to making our meeting planet-friendly. So, you may ask, how is
PMG going to get its 23 other national and international annual meetings to be carbon neutral?
Well, it is not going to be simple. Many of the organizations and meetings we manage have a
hard time making ends meet so this would be a significant financial ask of those groups. One
way we are doing this is by creating a new endeavor we call Green Solutionaries.

At PMG, we consider ourselves to be “Solutionaries”. This means we use visionary leadership
to solve challenging problems. During our planning in 2018 to help our clients become carbon
neutral, we began partnering with a carbon-offsetting company. This company provided the
calculation of the amount of carbon for all attendees and the amount of donation needed to
offset. As we began to investigate these companies further, we found many of them were taking
upwards of 20-30% of the donation and still stating the meeting was carbon neutral. I did not
feel comfortable with this approach. During the Pandemic, our team did significant research and
has developed our own database to calculate the carbon footprint of a meeting. The process
entails 30 datapoints that our Meetings Managers collect and submit to our Director of
Innovation, John White, to enter into the database. The datapoints include where each attendee
is traveling from, number of nights in a hotel, energy use of the hotel and/or conference center,
how food and beverage is delivered and many, many others. An estimate of the carbon offsetting
cost, based on the previous years’ data, will be presented to the board about 4 to 5 months prior
to the meeting, a final cost based on actual data will be presented at the meeting. We have found
meetings of our size 1800-2000 attendees with some international attendance to have a carbon
offset of $16-$21 per attendee. We encourage PMG groups to either increase the registration fee
by this amount to provide the offset or make the donation from any meeting profits. We have
found that asking attendees to contribute for the offset has not been fruitful. While some do
donate, most do not, and it makes a smaller impact for an offset.

In tandem with the development of Green Solutionaries, PMG has investigated a number of
charities to provide the offset and chosen three reputable charities who have minimal (if any)
administrative overhead taken from the donation. ACNP has chosen to donate to two of our
vetted charities, charity: water and One Tree Planted. charity: water has been chasing an
ambitious goal to end the global clean water crisis. Since 2006, they have worked with local
partners to fund 91,414 water projects serving 14,762,215 people in 29 countries. One Tree
Planted is on a mission to make it easy for anyone to plant trees. Their projects span the globe
and are in partnerships with local communities and knowledgeable experts to create an impact on
nature, people and wildlife. Reforestation is a key focus which helps to rebuild forests after fires
and floods, provide jobs for social impact and biodiversity. We are excited to partner with these
organizations as we grow Green Solutionaries and continue to provide our clients with the best
meeting planning services. I plan for PMG to stay involved in this emerging field and offer our
services to other associations interested in creating climate friendly meetings. There are so many
incredible things on the horizon. One is carbon insetting. There are a number of companies that
are looking for investments in renewable energy sources like creating jet fuel out of trash! My
goal is to keep ACNP and PMG’s clients at the forefront of these opportunities.

August 2022