The Net Zero Carbon Events initiative launched its roadmap at COP27, detailing how the industry can take forward the goals set at COP26.
After much speculation from event professionals across the globe, on 11th November Net Zero Carbon Events released its roadmap to get the global events industry to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The roadmap sets out a common framework for the events industry to make its net zero journey together. The document contains a step-by-step guideline with targets for significant points along the timeline starting 2023, by which venues and suppliers will define their carbon footprint and plan their reduction by the guidance set out. 2025 will see the measure of carbon at all events and embedding of sustainability criteria into contracts. Carbon emissions will be reduced through eliminating carbon intensive items and processes by 2030. By 2035 remaining carbon intensive activities and items will be replaced with sustainable alternatives. 2040 will see any residual carbon emissions removed from the atmosphere using robust carbon capture processes. Finally, by 2050 the industry will reach net zero carbon.
Kai Hattendorf, CEO of UFI and JMIC (Joint Meeting Industry Council) Board Member, introduced the roadmap:
“This roadmap has been fuelled and produced in the largest ever collaborative action seen across the events industry. We were speaking about the difficulty of bringing together so many players, and I am proud that our industry accepted that challenge and came together.
“The roadmap aims to provide a common framework to come together and approach net zero. While each organisation has its own speed to achieve the goal, rest assured that many conversations I’ve had over the last month were with players saying that they want to be net zero carbon on some sections by as early as 2024.”
Later, the session moved on to a panel discussion, bringing together key figures across the global industry. When asked about what she would recommend to businesses which are considering joining Net Zero Carbon Events’ pledge, Helen Sheppard, Head of Sustainability RX, responded: “Firstly I want to congratulate everyone involved in launching this document. It’s an incredibly comprehensive document that we can all be proud of. At the same time it can be daunting, particularly if you’re new to sustainability, or are approaching this for the first time. It can be difficult to know where to start. When it comes to the roadmap, there are two things that I think are particularly useful. Firstly, there’s some information in the roadmap about how a company can start measuring its scope one and two emissions. It’s also a valuable tool for mapping scope three emissions.
“Secondly, it’s a really helpful document that can be used in stakeholder engagement. It’s a catalyst that can be used with your suppliers, partners, and customers to talk about what they’re doing on sustainability, what they’re doing to achieve net zero, and how you can work together.”
Later in the panel discussion, Senthil Gopinath, CEO of ICCA, highlighted the importance of spreading the sustainability message: “I think the biggest challenge is one that we talked about in COP26 in Glasgow. Creating awareness. This has grown immensely already, with 400 stakeholders signing the pledge. But even if they do the measurement and move forward with new initiatives to map out the carbon footprint, it’s very vital that we create banners both internally and externally.”