A senior events industry leader has confirmed those who fail to give solid proof of efforts to reduce emissions every two years will have their names axed from the Net Zero Carbon Events signatories list on the initiative’s website.

The scheme – hosted by the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) – has seen many of its sign-ups already report on their progress, with most having implemented positive steps towards sustainable events.

However, this latest development adds more responsibility to eventprofs to commit to their pledge on climate action.

Speaking to ExpoPlatform, which also offers an initiative to offset carbon emissions in our industry, Alexander Alles, executive director of the JMIC, said: “The names of those who fail to report every two years taking tangible actions to reduce their emissions will be removed from the list of signatories on the website.

“As an initiative we are eager to showcase that the meetings industry is eager to combat climate change and that we do our part.

“At the same time, we fully recognise that the vast majority of the industry stakeholders are small and medium size enterprises. This is very much reflected among the signatories.

“They do not have dedicated teams of people who deal only with the topic of sustainability.

“Capacity building and support is crucial in order to make sustainability more understandable, which is what we are doing right now after the guidance documents have been developed.”

The Net Zero Carbon Events pledge was launched at COP26 in 2021 with over 100 first signatories – setting out the industry’s commitment to play its role in addressing climate change.

Every organisation that has signed up has committed to work towards the goal of net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.

This is in line with global efforts set out by the Paris Agreement to limit warming to 1.5C and reduce total global GHG emissions by 50% by 2030.

Signatories to Net Zero Carbon Events also commit to actively promote and advocate for industry efforts throughout the value chain.

Every organisation undertakes to:

  • Before the end of 2024, publish the organisation’s pathway to achieve net zero by 2050 at the latest, with an interim target in line with the Paris Agreement’s requirement to reduce global GHG emissions by 50% by 2030.
  • That includes identifying and prioritising actions to reduce emissions – such as energy management, water conservation, materials management, food and beverage waste reduction, housekeeping initiatives, sustainable procurement, stakeholder management and employee engagement – and set goals accordingly
  • Measure and track its Scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG emissions according to industry best practices
  • Report on its progress at least every two years

Alexander Alles added: “We are currently at the stage where many of those who signed up to the pledge soon after it was launched at the end of 2021 are reporting on their progress – what steps they have already taken to reduce their emissions and what plans have been put in place for further activity.

“Most of those who have reported have confirmed that they have implemented specific new steps to, for instance, reduce waste and recycle materials – real activity not greenwashing.”

The news comes as Ben Wielgum, head of sustainability at Informa Group, said the “clock is ticking” for event organisers to tackle the issue. He explained how exhibitors “really want” low carbon solutions at shows they take part in, while big players even “expect” planners to be taking action head on. Read the full Transformation Story with Ben here