The events industry kicks off towards net zero

UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, has announced the launch of a new initiative – Net Zero Carbon Events – to connect the events industry globally to the rapidly growing movement towards net zero by 2050. This initiative is hosted by the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC).

The objective is to have a pledge ready for COP26 in November 2021, when world leaders will meet in Glasgow, Scotland, to present how their countries will achieve the 50% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 in order to deliver on the Paris Agreement. In advance of this meeting, for profit and non-profit organisations from across all sectors are setting forth their own pathways towards this goal, and the ultimate goal of net zero by 2050.

Through this initiative, JMIC aims to link all stakeholders in the corporate, professional, academic and destination communities worldwide that have also committed to engagement in what is one of the biggest collective challenges we all face today, and to invite those that have not done so yet to join.

The Net Zero Carbon Events initiative aims to bring together a wide range of industry stakeholders to: 

  • Jointly communicate our industry’s commitment to tackling climate change and driving towards net zero by 2050
  • Develop common methodologies for measuring the industry’s direct, indirect and supply chain greenhouse gas emissions
  • Construct an industry-wide roadmap towards net zero by 2050, and emissions reductions by 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement, with support and guidance on key issues
  • Foster collaboration with suppliers and customers to ensure alignment and common approaches
  • Establish common mechanisms for reporting progress and sharing best practice.

The new initiative arises from the work of an organising task force initiated by JMIC members UFI, AIPC and ICCA joined by representatives of Emerald Expositions (US), Freeman (US), HKCEC (China), Informa (UK), Javits Center (US), MCI (Switzerland), Messe München (Germany), RX (UK) and Scottish Event Campus (UK) and it was born from a discussion with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat — which is also supporting the initiative.

All interested parties are invited to join this journey at The aim is to grow this initiative that represents the events industry as a whole and provide a collaborative commitment all can act on.

James Rees, JMIC president, says: “Events drive industries and societies. They shape conversations, foster innovation and generate business. They are key to human collaboration. This holds true for every subject – including sustainability and climate change. The events industry has a special role to play in tackling climate change. We provide the meeting places and market places to work on solutions to the climate crisis. At the same time, we have a responsibility to minimise our impact on climate change. We are inviting organisations from across the events industry – venues, organisers, exhibitors and suppliers – to join this collaborative effort to drive the events sector towards net zero.”

Anbu Varathan, UFI president, adds: “UFI is committed to driving and supporting sustainable development among our global membership and the exhibition industry at large. This collaborative and inclusive initiative that covers the whole event industry is a new important step and we look forward to identifying the commitments required for the reduction and neutralisation of event-related GHG emissions.”