Global Event Leaders Reveal Next Stage of Sustainability Journey

Global organizations have weighed in on how they will be using the Net Zero Carbon Events Roadmap to achieve the net zero target. The Roadmap, launched recently at COP27, is designed to provide a common framework for all event industry stakeholders to support and guide them to achieve the net zero target.

Freeman and Scottish Event Campus (SEC) Glasgow are among the global organizations already using the Roadmap to steer their sustainability journey. The 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. Production and waste 3. Food and food waste 4. Freight and logistics and 5. Travel. 

Freeman CEO, Bob Priest-Heck, said: “We plan to lean into our partnerships to affect all five Roadmap Action Areas, even those we don’t directly impact. As a producer of events, continuing our work against Action Area 2 will be our focus—to redesign events to be sustainable and waste free.

“We’ve been measuring our impact since 2018 and reporting on our sustainability progress annually with this year’s report aligned against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We’ve made a strong start on our own Roadmap but know that working together amplifies our impact.” 

Action Area 1 is a core focus for Peter Duthie, CEO at the SEC Glasgow—host venue for COP26: “Central to achieving our net zero goal is the development of an ambitious energy strategy which will transition the campus to renewable energy.

“We’re also implementing efficiency measures including the use of LED lighting across our venues and taking further actions around water efficiency, green travel, supply chain engagement and waste management.”

Net Zero Carbon Events launched in 2021 prior to unveiling its Pledge at COP26 in Glasgow. It brings together event industry stakeholders from around the world including conference, exhibition and event organizers, convention bureaus, venues and other suppliers. The aim is to drive collective action from across the sector to meet key sustainability milestones. 

Since its launch, more than 400 conference and events industry organizations from 55 countries have pledged to achieve net zero carbon by 2050. Every events organization is invited to join and sign the Pledge. Each signatory commits to support the goal of net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, in line with global efforts set out by the Paris Agreement to limit warming to 1.5°C and reduce total global GHG emissions by 50 percent by 2030, and to actively promote and advocate for industry efforts throughout the value chain.  

The launch of the Roadmap was Phase 2 of Net Zero Carbon Events initiative. Helen Sheppard, head of sustainability at RX, explains: “The Roadmap prompts us to question how we do business from the big—such as delegate travel—to the small—such as badging. Education, therefore, is key to supporting the changes we need to implement.” 

James Rees, president of Joint Meeting Industry Council (JMIC)—one of the founders of Net Zero Carbon Events, sums up: “The Roadmap marks the next stage of the Net Zero Carbon Events initiative. It’s intended to support and guide organizations through the process of achieving Net Zero linked to our target. It’s an ambitious target, but it’s one we really must meet. We have no choice—we have to act and we have to do so now.

“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.” 

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