Meeting Mentor Magazine

June 2024

Net Zero Events? Not Yet

While many event organizers are on board with the idea of achieving net zero carbon events, the idea is slow to translate to real change, according to a new study.

Conferences, conventions, trade shows and other events use a lot of energy — and tend to have pretty hefty carbon footprints as a result. Despite the ever-growing list of organizations who have signed onto the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge — more than 300 signatories to date, with another 130 other supporters — a recent study by Ovation Global DMC found that reality is lagging intention when it comes to producing more sustainable events.

The survey, which included participants from North America, Europe and, to a smaller degree, from South America, Asia, Africa and Australia/Oceana — more than 2/3 of whom were meeting planners — concluded that the industry is slower than expected in measuring carbon emissions from their events, working with sustainable suppliers, selecting sustainable venues, using renewable energy, and offsetting emissions that can’t be avoided, such as those related to air travel to get to and from events. Overall, fewer than 15% of survey respondents said their events that are currently taking place globally actively focus on lowering carbon emissions, the survey found. Another 28% said about 15-30% of their events were working on lowering carbon emissions.

Specifically, just a third of respondents said they measure the carbon emissions of their events, and only 38% said their organization measures the carbon footprint of its own operations.

And just 14% said their organization mandates that the vendors they use are actively working toward reaching net zero carbon by using renewable energy or improving waste management. However, on the plus side, only 33% said they don’t mandate that the vendors they use are sustainable. Many appear to be still in the process, with more than half saying they are “still implementing these measures.”

“Although our survey indicates that we still have a long way to go to achieve carbon zero net events, it also highlights that companies are slowly working towards a more sustainable future,” the company said in a post outlining the survey results. “We strive to do better every day, and we should always have that in mind.”

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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 4,400+ associations, corporations, and sporting authorities through our 400+ global associates. www.conferencedirect.com

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, is a business journal for senior meeting planners that is distributed in print and digital editions to the clients, prospects, and associates of ConferenceDirect, which handles over 13,000 worldwide meetings, conventions, and incentives annually. www.meetingmentormag.com

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