Alex Alles, Executive Director of the Joint Meetings Industry Council, catches us up on the state of play on the industry’s journey towards net zero carbon.
At COP27 last year, the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) announced the Net Zero Carbon Events (NZCE) initiative, along with the roadmap for achieving net zero carbon. Now, with the laid-out December deadline for defining and planning the path ahead, we find out if the industry is keeping pace: “The roadmap was designed by the industry and released at COP27, and it describes the general terms of achieving net zero carbon,” Alex Alles, JMIC Executive Director explains. “We also introduced the workstreams and kickstarted those. We also defined the main areas to focus on which are menu energy, food and food waste, logistics, waste management, and travel and accommodation.
“The main goal we set out was the introduce the first methodologies by December 2023. We’re pretty well underway with that. Meanwhile, we’ve also released a set of best practices on our website and within the reporting workstream designed the first reporting template because this year will be the first reporting cycle of the initiative, and the first companies have started to report on their progress already.”
Achieving net zero carbon in the event industry as a whole is a necessity which can’t be denied: “In the past if sustainability was nice to have, now it’s almost a business imperative. So we of course want to play a part in decarbonisation because we as an industry do create pollution and create an impact on the environment. We also would like to act ahead of legislation because in the end sustainability and all the topics around it will be more and more present in our daily business operations, and there will be rules imposed upon us. It’s also becoming more important for the customers and is something they will look for.”
NZCE has seen a lot of support from the events industry and has recently reached 30 financial contributors: “We do see a lot of support, and that’s not only limited to the financial contributions. The initiative is free of charge, and the resources which we provide are completely free to use. We do have more than 550 supporting organisations from around the world, this is a truly global enterprise. We also have, of course, so many organisations who are actively working within our workstreams. This support is invaluable because they all contribute to the success of this initiative.”
The aim of NZCE is to bring the events industry together to tackle its sustainability goals as one: “Sustainability cannot be achieved by working in isolation. Now, collectively as an industry, we are trying to find solutions. We try to identify common language in the industry, so that if we are talking about a specific aspect of it, we actually know we all have the same meaning and are working towards the same goals. Our industry is so complex and diverse, and everyone plays their own role to ensure the bigger picture is working properly, which is exactly was NZCE is about.”