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Major Release of New Resources for Event Sustainability

Net-Zero Carbon Events has published seven new best-practice documents for organizations working to reduce the environmental impact of their meetings and events.

After almost two and a half years of work, Net-Zero Carbon Events has arrived at a major milestone. The campaign to help events-industry organizations achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is moving from a development phase to an implementation phase.

At a press conference on December 11, NZCE announced the publication of seven workstream guidance documents, and its new priorities going forward.

“It's a proud day for the industry, and I'm honored to be part of it,” said Kai Hattendorf, CEO of UFI and one of NZCE’s volunteer leaders. The seven new best-practice and methodology documents—all free to interested event professionals—are the result of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers.

The new guidance documents cover:
• Smart production and waste management
• Venue energy
• Logistics
• Food and food waste
• Travel and accommodations
• Carbon offsetting
• Measurement

Hattendorf called the documents a “treasure trove of insights and directly applicable action items,” and noted the efficiencies of the global effort: “Essentially, it saves everyone a year of consulting work to dig into the work done by all our colleagues.”

Twenty organizations were involved with NZCE when it launched in 2021. Now there are 640, and Hattendorf sees the potential to accelerate that growth with the release of the workstream documents. “After today, when the industry sees what is there and starts working with the content, having 1,000 members is achievable within the next year as we are now shifting from the development phase to the implementation phase.”

NZCE’s implementation phase will be “structured around three tentpoles,” Hattendorf says. The first is measurement, reporting, and verification. “All those hundreds of businesses who have signed the pledge [to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050] need to measure and report their progress.” In addition to work on standards and methodology for emissions measurement, the organization plans to track and publicize the industry’s progress.

The second tentpole is around “activation and adoption,” Hattendorf says, noting that there will be resource centers for each of the workstream focus areas. “Think of them as ongoing working groups who will further develop best practices and resources. … So there's going to be hands-on guidance and always a peer-to-peer network available for everyone to progress as fast as possible.”

The third tentpole of NZCE’s implementation phase is about communications. “We've focused so much in the last two years on finding the answers for our industry,” said Hattendorf, and while NZCE did communicate its progress along the way, “going forward we need to share this even more broadly, … driving the education of the industry on the implementation of net zero.”

That education will begin with a series of December webinars on the individual workstream documents: Measurement, December 12; venue energy and travel & accommodations, December 13; logistics and carbon offsetting, December 18; and food & food waste and smart production & waste management, December 20. Register for the free one-hour webinars here.

Mark Temple-Smith, COO of Informa Markets, joined the press conference to comment from an event-organizer perspective and as one of NZCE’s platinum-level sponsors. Solving sustainability challenges, he said, “requires the industry as a whole to come together and work towards a shared goal. The B2B events industry is no exception—in fact our whole industry is built on the idea of bringing people together—and it’s thanks to initiatives such as Net-Zero Carbon Events that progress is being made across the industry rather than in silos.

“Today’s launch of a consistent set of frameworks and approaches will help make the industry much faster and more cohesive when it comes to the fundamentals of carbon measurement for events, allowing us to go even further in working with our supply chain and venue partners to cut emissions even further.”

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