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Pallets Contribute To Climate Change Conference

23 Nov 2016

Marrakesh in Morocco was the venue chosen for the 2016 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP22) held between the 7th and 18th of November at Bab Ighli, Avenue Mohammed VI. The 22nd conference of nations that signed the Paris Climate Change agreement welcomed approximately 20,000 delegates from 196 countries. On the agenda are discussions regarding how the Paris agreement is to be applied. This agreement, which has so far been ratified by 102 countries, requires signatories to identify strategies for reducing their emissions of carbon dioxide and for keeping global warming at under 2 degrees Celsius.

One of the Maltese Delegates

The venue has impressed many delegates, amongst them Danika Formosa from Malta, one of the delegates from the Federation of Young European Greens. Danika is a student of Environmental Engineering at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) in Paola, Malta. Her other roles include serving as secretary-general for IASSO (the Institute of Applied Sciences Student Organisation), as Sharklab-Malta’s projects coordinator and as the international secretary for Alternattiva Demokratika Zgħazagħ.

Danika reported that the design of the conference venue incorporated many recycled materials, including wood pallets and paper. The actual façade of the pavilion was created from wooden pallets, and all the restaurant furniture, including the tables and chairs, are manufactured from wood. The use of wood pallets is beneficial because it removes a possible source of waste from the environment whilst demonstrating how these materials can be used in the construction of beautiful and useful items.

This use of cardboard and wood pallets in the design of the conference venue also indicates a commitment to sustainable materials. Danika felt that there were many similarities between many of the issues surrounding climate change that are faced by Malta and those that are faced by Africa, Latin America, developing Asia and the Middle East and countries in the Global South.

wood pallets

Sustainability of the Venue

In addition to the use of wooden pallets in the construction of the venue, the government of Morocco has implemented a number of other measures aimed at increasing the sustainability and climate neutrality of the conference. Some of the focus areas include water and waste management, energy, distribution of reusable water bottles and a “print on demand” approach designed to minimise the distribution and possible waste of printed materials.

Delegates can refill the free water bottles provided in their welcome packs at fountains across the conference site.

Two “solar trees” have been installed between restaurants on the conference site, allowing delegates to recharge their mobile phones sustainably.

Travel between the conference site and the hotel zones is by two types of electrical vehicles: the Renault COP shuttle service can be requested at the hotel’s shuttle service desk or at the shuttle service hub in the conference venue, and the Toyota Ubergreen shuttle service can be requested using the downloadable Uber app.

All delegates are encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint where possible and to consider offsetting their individual greenhouse gas emissions where these cannot be avoided, such as those generated by transport. Delegates who do this are eligible for a personalized certificate.

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