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COP26 Host Brings Climate Talks to the Events Industry

A new podcast looks at what meeting planners and suppliers can learn from the U.N. Climate Change Conference and what they can do to help achieve the conference’s goals.

VisitScotland’s new podcast, “COP26 and the Journey to Change,” provides food for thought for meeting professionals in two directions. First, there's the content itself; second, there’s the approach: piggybacking on a high-profile event to amplify your message.

Glasgow, Scotland, is the host city for COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which begins November 1. As the countries of the world gather in hopes of agreeing to a path that will slow climate change, Scotland’s national tourist organization has created a parallel conversation about sustainability in the business events sector. Its new 16-episode podcast looks at what the business events industry can learn from COP26 and what it can do to help achieve the goals of the conference.

Four episodes are available so far, and a new one will be released on each day of the conference, aligning with themes of COP26, such as energy, nature, and equality. Speakers include events-industry leaders Sherrif Karamat, CEO of the Professional Convention Management Association; Sven Bossu, CEO of the International Association of Convention Centres; Amy Calvert, CEO of the Events Industry Council, plus many others, as well as VisitScotland executives who moderate the episodes.

In large part, the podcast content could have been delivered at any time. However, plugging into COP26 builds on the excitement of the global climate event.

Could other organizations use VisitScotland’s approach as a roadmap to engagement? Consider the 2022 Winter Olympics Games in Beijing. A wide variety of interest groups will be watching through their particular lenses—epidemiologists, travel writers, human-rights activists, and sports psychologists, to name just a few. Organizations with audiences drawn to issues around the Olympics could consider a podcast, webinar series, or even a live event to run concurrently. Some other events that generate the kind of media attention that could be parlayed into increased virtual or in-person participation include CES, TED, World Economic Forum, SXS, and any major election.

The Agenda
To tune in to the “COP26 and the Journey to Change” podcast, go to the VisitScotland website or SoundCloud.

Titles and speakers for the first four of the 16 episodes are

Ep 1: Scotland on the global stage: What COP26 means for Scotland beyond the event
Neil Brownlee and Rory Archibald, VisitScotland

Ep 2: Business events for change: An international association perspective
Jessica Smith, MCI USA; Sara Haywood, CMP, National Council for Mental Wellbeing; Bel Hanson, International Society for Computational Biology; and Rory Archibald, VisitScotland

Ep 3: Business events for change: A corporate and incentive perspective
Neil Brownlee, VisitScotland, and Ben Goedegebuure, Maritz Global Events

Ep 4: Ambassadors for change: Engaging business-event ambassadors in a post-pandemic world
Amanda Ferguson, University of Edinburgh, and Gordon Hodge, University of Strathclyde


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