Collaboration, commitment and consistency emerged as 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 watched and listened to the presentations and panel sessions. These 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 Executive Summary.
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 declared “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 approach.” 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.
Commenting on the value of the Roadmap, Helen Sheppard, head of sustainability at RX said it “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.”
James Rees, Joint Meetings Industry Council’s president, said additionally: “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.
Launched in August 2021, the Net Zero Carbon Events initiative is the events industry’s global campaign to achieve net zero carbon by 2050. It now has over 400 supporting organisations from 55 countries. Some 225 operators have signed the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge since its launch at COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021, committing to publish before the end of 2023 their organisation’s pathway to achieve Net Zero, with an interim target to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2030.