Net Zero Carbon Events: A Milestone in Industry Collaboration

13th December 2023

In a significant stride towards sustainability, the Net Zero Carbon Events (NZCE) initiative has recently unveiled seven comprehensive guidance documents aimed at assisting the events industry in achieving its ambitious carbon emissions goals. These documents, produced by dedicated action area workstream teams, cover critical areas identified in the roadmap published a year ago.

The launch event, held at ExCeL London on December 11, 2023, marked a pivotal moment in the industry’s commitment to tackling climate change. The seven documents deal with essential topics such as Venue Energy, Smart Production and Waste Management, Logistics, Travel and Accommodation, Food and Food Waste, Offsetting, and Measurement. They are now available for free download, providing valuable insights and strategies for organizations worldwide as they develop and implement plans to achieve net-zero carbon events.

James Rees, President of the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC), which is driving the NZCE initiative, emphasized the monumental collaboration behind these documents. He said: “This achievement is the result of the hard work of over 100 industry volunteers whose support, added together, represents many years of working time to develop, critique and finalize these guidance documents.”

Alexander Alles, Executive Director of JMIC, highlighted the expertise within the workstream teams, consisting of senior operations and sustainability experts from event organizers, venues, and service suppliers worldwide. Each document provides detailed guidance to aid organizations in progressing on the decarbonization journey.

The Measurement Methodology document, for example, serves as a comprehensive guide for understanding and quantifying event-level emissions, covering nine emission source categories, measurement tiers, event-level metrics, extrapolation, and baseline setting. Smart Production and Waste Management have introduced a Materials Library, listing various materials used in events with specific emissions factors, with plans to expand it in the future. Logistics not only offers advice on on-site and last-mile logistics but also covers traffic management and smart cities.

Looking to the future, Kai Hattendorf, Managing Director and CEO of UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, said that in 2024 and beyond, the focus will shift from development to implementation, as he outlined three central ‘tentpoles’ for future work: “Measurement, Reporting & Verification”; “Activation & Adaptation”; and “Communication & Education.” The initiative plans to base its work on a series of projects to progress topics such as reporting, standards, certifications, reusable stands, and other key issues prioritized in the community as central drivers of greenhouse gas reductions.

Brian Brittain, COO of RX, emphasized the importance of establishing a consistent method to measure carbon emissions at events. Mark Temple-Smith, COO of Informa Markets, acknowledged the significance of industry-wide collaboration, stating: “Thanks to initiatives such as Net Zero Carbon Events, progress is being made across the industry rather than in silos.”

As the industry enters the next phase of implementation, James Rees emphasized the need for total commitment and active engagement at all levels, from CEOs downwards, to achieve net-zero objectives. The Net Zero Carbon Events initiative stands as a beacon of collaboration and collective action, demonstrating the industry’s commitment to being a part of the solution to the global climate crisis.

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