5 ways to have a GreenEGU!

5 ways to have a GreenEGU!

All too often organisations can claim sustainability initiatives that don’t really do much to help the environment, known as ‘greenwashing’. For several years, EGU has committed – both in terms of our resources and the research we support – to help create a cleaner and greener environment in real terms. One of the most significant initiatives is our switch to a fully hybrid meeting, which we have held every year since the pandemic, and that we strive to improve each year. As EGU24 approaches, around 18,000 people are expected to travel to Vienna for the week-long conference. Many of you will choose to embrace virtual attendance, as a way to manage your own carbon footprint as well as for a host of other reasons, but if you are travelling to Vienna to attend on-site, there are still several ways, big and small, that you can help us to lessen the environmental impact of the meeting.

To get you started here are five ways that you can help us support EGU’s green initiatives at EGU24 in Vienna, and online!


#1: Prioritize eco-friendly travel

If you are joining us in Vienna, we recommend making conscious choices when it comes to your travel – whether this is to or from Vienna, or travel within the city. The Austria Center Vienna (ACV) is easily accessible by all modes of public transport, which you can compare using the website Instead of private vehicles, choose the city train, bus, or metro whenever possible – made even easier by the free public transportation ticket included with your on-site EGU24 registration (printed on the back of your name badge)! You can also cycle around the city and to the conference center (bicycles can be rented through CityBike Vienna, Donkey Bike, or Copa Cagrana Rad und Skaterverleih) and if you’re feeling capable and have time, Vienna is a beautiful city to explore on foot!


#2: Embrace the digital life!

Each year we strive to improve the EGU General Assembly’s digital experience and EGU24 will continue this trend  by combining all your favourite aspecta of the previous digital meeting; such as supplementary materials, online commenting, and on-demand viewing of recorded Union-wide events; with exciting innovative updates to the hybrid experience for 2024, like the new hybrid poster and PICO presentation format.

As a result there has never been a better time to make your EGU experience a little greener… digitally! Why not create an online personal programme using the EGU24 website or mobile app (coming soon) to avoid printing programmes or your schedule. You can even share details of your presentations, papers and data by using scannable QR codes!  In additional you could also try using your Personal Profile instead of a business card! Update your information today and share the QR code on your name badge to help people find you and your presentation data.

Last but not least, you can always consider participating virtually. The fully-hybrid format allows you to participate remotely in every aspect of the meeting, and our virtual registrations are significantly discounted. You can even apply for a FREE virtual registration if you are an undergraduate or masters student, or are from a lower or middle income country. On-site attendees get full digital access with their registration, so just because you have to travel home partway through the meeting, or need to spend a day recovering if you are ill, you don’t have to miss any of the amazing scientific connections you can make on-site.


#3: Bring reusable products

Did you know that since 2018, EGU’s move to encourage reusable water bottles has saved about 30,000 single-use PET water bottles per year? As organisers, we do our best to minimize waste as much as possible, but our attendees can help us make a big difference here! With a little planning, you can ensure a well packed bag with essentials like a reusable water bottle, coffee cup/mug, straw, and cloth napkin. Biodegradable waste bags are also a good idea, as well as reusable food containers in place of throw-away containers. For more ideas, check out this blog recommended by our Media Relations Manager Gillian D’Souza. You can even make your on-site poster reusable by printing it on fabric – then turning your poster into an outfit!

If you are attending EGU24 remotely, how about these 5 ideas to make your virtual General Assembly greener?


#4: Follow the conference center’s sustainable waste practices

The Austria Center Vienna, our host in the city, particularly welcomes and certifies green meetings in compliance with the Austrian Ecolabel. Over the years, the Center has introduced several initiatives to reduce its environmental impact. Some of these include the use of energy-saving LEDs, a solar array to heat the water used in the kitchens and toilets, and working with an in-house catering company compliant with green standards. During EGU24, we advise all participants to follow the Center’s practices on waste segregation and the reusing of personal cutlery during the conference. There will be physical signs displayed to help guide you, but if ever in doubt, just ask a member of the support staff or the event organisers.


#5: Join the discussion!

At EGU we try and be realistic about our limitations as well as our successes. In the past we have had several suggestions about how we as an organisation could be more environmentally friendly, from going fully virtual all the time, to introducing free water fountains, to removing single use coffee cups completely. We are always open to your feedback, though we are also driven by the requirements of all our members and therefore must consider the diverse needs of many people, so sometimes these suggestions may not be possible to implement. If you have any ideas for how the EGU General Assembly can become more sustainable and environmentally friendly, we want to hear from you! Either drop a comment under this blog, or if you are at the meeting swing by the EGU Booth in Hall X2 on the purple level. There you can Meet the EGU, talk with our volunteers and staff, make suggestions and even pick up some reusable EGU merchandise of your own! We look forward to seeing you there!


We hope this blog has inspired you to make a difference to the environment in ways big and small! For transparency we also want to share some of the less visible initiatives that EGU has been putting in place toward a greener General Assembly:

  • We no longer print a paper programme book and instead encourage attendees to access the programme online and/or through smartphones. This has saved about 1 million printed A5 pages per year since 2018!
  • The daily newsletter EGU Today went fully digital in 2019, remaining a popular source of information while saving 15,000 double-sided A4 printed pages per year. Make sure to check it regularly from Sunday 14 April to Friday 19 April here!
  • EGU notebooks and flyers are printed on FSC-certified recycled paper, offsetting the environmental impact of producing the flyers on regular paper.
  • Since 2020, EGU pens distributed at the EGU booth are made of bamboo rather than plastic.
  • Name badges consist of lanyards made of 100% recycled PET and a paper badge made of 100% FSC-recycled paper. Since 2020, the paper badges are no longer pocketed in a plastic sleeve. Attendees are also encouraged to bring their EGU lanyard from a past conference or, if taking a lanyard this year on-site, reuse it next year.
  • The meeting’s 1,500 sqm of signage is made from polyurethane hard foam (PU). We reuse these signs for 3 to 5 years and limit the production of new ones. These signs are stored directly in the ACV to avoid transport.
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Hazel Gibson is Head of Communications at the European Geosciences Union. She is responsible for the management of the Union's social media presence and the EGU blogs, where she writes regularly for the EGU's official blog, GeoLog. She has a PhD in Geoscience Communication and Cognition from the University of Plymouth in the UK. Hazel tweets @iamhazelgibson.

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