Business Events Team Up & Take Action for the Environment



Author: Vicky Koffa

The meetings industry is all about bringing great minds and industry influencers together to learn and share knowledge, adding a unique value to scientific and academic advancements and the global economy. But how can this value be extended to also benefit the environment?

Launched in August 2021, this new project originated from the work of an organizing task force initiated by Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) members, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC) and the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

“We all felt that our global events sector needs to accelerate its actions in response to the threat of climate change and wanted to drive a collective response.” says James Rees, President of JMIC.

A Handy Guide to Get You Thinking

With sustainability being one of the main topics of discussion when preparing for an event, the time was right to unite the meetings industry and its stakeholders under the same umbrella. From “Operators”, directly involved in the production of events (as an organizer, a venue, or a service provider), to “Associations” of those operators, or “Partners” (destinations, media, consultants), all signatory organizations now have access to a concrete guide on how to start their environmental journey.

A Roadmap to Achieve Your Goals

In November 2022, NZCE reached its first milestone after the Pledge of COP26. A clear Roadmap was issued, preparing the ground for the steps to follow until the desirable carbon-free year 2050. “This Roadmap sets out a framework for measuring and evaluating progress as well as detailing five key action areas where collaborative effort is needed: 1. Energy 2. Smart production and waste management 3. Food and food waste 4. Freight and logistics and 5. Travel and accommodation,” explains Rees. According to the statistics presented in the roadmap, travel and accommodation are by far the industry’s biggest obstacles, but ones that can be overcome by data collection, sustainable travel plans and attendee communication in place at all events.

Who Is Part of This?

Along with signing the pledge to act more sustainably, the initiative offers funding partnerships of four different levels for all stakeholders interested in supporting the cause. Since its launch, nearly 500 conference and events industry organizations from 55 countries have signed the pledge – conference, exhibition and event organizers, convention bureaux, venues, and other suppliers.

The movement has clearly already gained a lot of traction, especially among those directly linked to organizing events. But the only way to achieve positive change within the desired timeframe is for everyone to be on the same page and work together. More signatories from across the sectors means more efficient work towards the goal.

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