Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge Launches With Broad Industry Support

As of Nov. 15, 120 business events industry organizations have signed the pledge, each committing to eliminating their global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Author: Curt Wagner       

Kai Hattendorf at COP26

Kai Hattendorf, speaks Nov. 10 during a COP26 session where the event industry’s Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge was introduced. (Binit Bharadia/UK Government)

With the launch of the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge on Nov. 10 during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, a wide-ranging network of global events industry players has united to fight climate change with the ultimate goal of eliminating the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

A broad collaboration, hosted by the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) with the support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), developed the pledge over several months. Speaking on behalf of the initiative’s organizers during a COP26 session, Kai Hattendorf said 211 industry stakeholders were involved in the process.

“We have the commitment from the largest and most influential organizations in our sector, so we are confident in our ability to drive this change, to tackle the challenges ahead,” Hattendorf, managing director and CEO of UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, said during the COP26 session.

As of Nov. 15, 120 events industry stakeholders, including PCMA, have signed the pledge. PCMA President and CEO Sherrif Karamat said the COVID-19 pandemic was a wake-up call for every industry and changed the way audiences engage with business events, including taking a deeper look at climate change and a sustainable future.

“Think about the opportunity this presents our industry because we bring together people to foster innovation that has the power to solve the climate crisis while creating new jobs, new industries, higher-paying jobs — and a future that we will be proud to leave our children and grandchildren,” Karamat said.

Signatories to the pledge commit to:

  • Before the end of 2023, publish their organization’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 greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030.
  • Collaborate with partners, suppliers, and customers to drive change across the value chain.
  • Measure and track Scope 1, 2, and 3 greenhouse gas emissions according to industry best practice.
  • Report on progress at least every two years.

The next step of the initiative is to develop the roadmap which will define and support the objectives outlined in the pledge with the goal of presenting that framework next year at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

“This is the start of the journey and now the real test comes, which is really doing significant work … to help us get to what we’re pledging to do,” Miguel Alejandro Naranjo Gonzalez, program officer of the UNFCCC Secretariat, said during the COP26 session.

Toward the end of the UN session, Hattendorf said industry and related sectors have an “open invitation” to join the collaboration. “We can find ways to get to zero carbon before 2050, if we just put our brains to it,” he said, “but we need all the brains!”

The full pledge and list of signatories can be found at netzerocarbonevents.org/the-pledge/.

Curt Wagner is digital editor at Convene.