Environmental sustainability and BNA2023

The British Neuroscience Association (BNA) is serious about reducing the climate impact of our activities, not least for our events.

Steps that we are taking to reduce the carbon footprint of International Festival of Neuroscience 2023 and maximise its environmental sustainability include the actions outlined below.

In addition, we are highlighting 'Green neuroscience' in the Festival programme itself, giving the chance for delegates to learn about, commit to and reduce the environmental impact of neuroscience research. 

We're very grateful for the advice and support of the BNA Green Neuroscience Working Group in making the Festival more green. 


Green neuroscience in the Festival programme

Monday 24th April 09:30 - 11:10 BST
SPECIAL SESSION - How can we make neuroscience more environmentally sustainable?
Chaired by Charlotte Rae, University of Sussex
Find out how we can address the climate and ecological impacts of neuroscience research, from big data to laboratory efficiency, travel and institutional policies to advocacy and campaigning. 

Monday 24th April 18:30 - 19:30 BST
PUBLIC LECTURE: How do we save the planet? Why understanding people and our behaviour is critical
A panel discussion bringing together local politicians, climate campaigners, and neuroscientists specliasing in social decision-making, exchanging ideas about how neuroscience can do its bit to tackle climate change (details TBC)

Throughout the Festival: Pier Review
Come to the 'Pier Review' policy and advocacy stand, in the main exhibition hall, to get more information and make a committment to help your own research activities more environmentally sustainable. 

Throughout the Festival: Beach clean
In partnership with Scientifica, we will be providing the opportunity for delegates to get some fresh air AND help the environment by going on a beach clean - equipment provided. 


Actions to improve the environmental sustainability of BNA2023

Reducing carbon associated with travel:

  • We've given all session conveners the option to have up to half of their speakers present online
  • Those speakers who attend in person, especially if coming from overseas, are encouraged to attend the whole Festival (not just travel in and out in a day), maximising ‘what we get for our carbon’
  • Staff, speakers, and attendees are encouraged to take lower carbon travel options, such as public transport or carpooling, rather than flying to the meeting. Plane travel, particularly for short, internal flights, is associated with a very high carbon footprint: you can calculate the carbon associated with different modes of transport here
  • We also hope to be able to provide funding to help support greener travel options, similar to the 'Train over plane' grants provided for our Festive Symposium (this is funding dependent)
  • Sesssions will be recorded, to make the scientific content of Festival available afterwards to those who wish to avoid travel altogether.

Reducing waste:

  • All food at the Festival is vegetarian by default, to reduce the carbon footprint associated with food at conferences and events (special dietary requirements will be catered for)
  • All materials are biodegradable and/or recyclable as far as possible, e.g. using bamboo banner stands
  • We are re-using materials where possible, e.g. name badges and lanyards
  • There will be an opportunity to refill your water bottle on site
  • The book of abstracts is now solely available in digital format, without any printed copies being produced



The Brighton Centre is committed to being a sustainable venue and improving the impact that the events they host have on the local environment and the planet. They do this in the following ways:

  • Zero to Landfill waste
  • LED lighting throughout the venue
  • Water-saving systems in place in the toilets
  • Energy purchased from renewable sources
  • Using modern technology to reduce gas usage on their hot water and heating
  • Water fountains throughout the venue
  • Carpet floor tiles
  • Recycling bins throughout the venue

Furthermore, the Brighton Centre’s contracted caterers, Be Seasoned, have the following initiatives in place:

  • No plastic straws onsite and no drinks sold in single use plastic bottles
  • Use of wooden cutlery, palm leaf and cardboard food containers
  • Cooking oil is collected and recycled
  • Food waste is recycled, which then produces a high-quality compost material and a bio gas which is used as a heat source
  • BeSeasoned  have a bronze Food for Life certification from the Soil Association and are working towards renewing this for the next year.
  • Water supplier is Life Water UK. Through the sales of water at the venue, they have built two water wells in third world country villages. See details here: https://www.life-water.co.uk/
  • Working with local homeless charities including Fareshare, which they donate excess produce to avoid waste.

See full information about the sustainability at the Brighton Centre here.