Collaboration, commitment and consistency were the key themes when
the Net Zero Carbon Events initiative launched its Roadmap at the United
Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
Hundreds of events professionals around the world tuned in for the
presentations and panel sessions that highlighted the progress of the
initiative since its launch in 2021, how the industry can move forward
effectively using the roadmap and how action areas and workstreams on
topics such as travel, accommodation, energy, waste and measurement are
the next steps.
The roadmap is available as a full report with comprehensive
information on how to implement action to achieve Net Zero, and as an
In panel discussions about implementation, the need for structure,
standardised measurement and to ‘start now’ figured prominently. Kai
Hattendorf, CEO of UFI and JMIC board member said “Measurement is key –
without it, you can’t track progress. The challenge in our sector is
that every event is different. It’s essential to take a united
Edwin Van der Vennet of the Sustainability Committees of IFES, EDPA
and UFI said “It’s essential to start now – and start simple. There are
no secrets, it’s simply about getting started.”
The roadmap creates a common framework for all event industry
stakeholders to meet the net zero goal. It provides a pathway for
individual organisations as well as industry-wide action areas. The
action areas have been identified where collaborative effort is needed
along with a framework for measuring and evaluating progress.
Helen Sheppard, head of sustainability at RX said the roadmap
“prompts us to question how we do business from the big – such as
delegate travel to the small – such as badging. Education is key to
supporting the changes we need to implement.”
Gift to the industry
Several of the panel members, including Derar Al Manaseer, director -
strategy & investment ADNEC and Senthil Gopinath, CEO ICCA agreed
that “the Roadmap is a gift to the industry”.
The event opened with Miguel Alejandro Naranjo Gonzalez and Ina
Parvanova of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) congratulating the industry on developing the roadmap,
particularly that such a wide range of stakeholders had been involved.
After James Rees, JMIC president, expressed how JMIC was proud to be a
unifying body for the industry in taking on the challenge of climate
change. UFI's Hattendorf reported that more than 400 organisations had
signed the pledge launched at COP26.
During a series of contributions by leaders of organisations
committed to supporting the initiative, Monica Lee Muller, managing
director of Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre said:
“Sustainability is the company’s guiding principle, and the concept is
now deep rooted in our process and daily routines. Being part of NZCE is
a natural step for us.”
Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman, added: “Our ecosystem is complex and
we need to work together to make real change happen. We need to reach
outside our industry and connect with aligned sectors such as travel.”
Charlie McCurdy, CEO of Informa Markets, said: “Collectively, we
bring together one and a half billion business decision-makers every
year across virtually all industries around the world. Our events have
an estimated total economic impact per year of 1.5 trillion US dollars.
The exhibition industry is a catalyst for change.”
Most inclusive action ever
On progress so far and
looking ahead to next year, UFI's Hattendorf commented: “This is the
biggest, most inclusive action ever from our industry. At COP26 we just
got started, with our pledge, and a huge amount of momentum. Now, at
COP27, we’re launching the roadmap.
"By COP28, we will have models for implementation, successful pilots
to announce and share, and we will have companies beginning to report
their progress into the framework."
In conclusion, JMIC's Rees said: “Addressing this fundamental
sustainability challenge is a global and united effort – and we need to
drive consistency across our industry. Net Zero Carbon Events is here to
bring people together and affect real change.
“The roadmap will support and guide organisations through this
process of achieving Net Zero linked to our target, and it is an
ambitious target but it is one we really must meet. We have no choice.
We have to act and we have to do so now. So, sign up to the initiative,
become part of the roadmap.
“I’m very positive about the future.”