The Net Zero Carbon Events pledge from the Joint Meetings Industry Council, which presents The Iceberg, has just been delivered at COP26. Iceberg founder James Latham talks to former JMIC President Kai Hattendorf and Miguel Naranjo and Laura Lopez of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change about what it means for the sector.

Speaking not long before he outlined Net Zero Carbon Events at COP26 in Glasgow, former JMIC President Kai Hattendorf told Iceberg founder James Latham that the Net Zero Carbon Events pledge from the Joint Meetings Industry Council is an attempt to unite the industry and brings its voice to the table in implementing the targets of the 2015 Paris Agreement adopted at COP21. He stressed that the pledge was not “owned” by JMIC, but that the organisation was merely a suitable umbrella under which to consolidate wider efforts across the sector to reduce carbon emissions. It is an industry, Hattendorf said, that by bringing delegates together to centralised gatherings, is already lowering the much larger environmental impact that long haul travel to many more individual meetings would otherwise create.

Kai Hattendorf, former JMIC President and Managing Director / CEO at UFI.

Miguel Naranjo, Programme Officer at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, explains how he came to lend support to Net Zero Carbon Events. Naranjo’s role is based around such liaisons with outside stakeholders, and UNFCCC was already thinking about its own events carbon footprint at the point it began talking to JMIC.

Naranjo discusses with James the role of Iceberg partner issue champions like Positive Impact and the Global Destination Sustainability Movement. They discuss the price of carbon offsetting, carbon capture, the use of carbon calculators for events, and what those calculations should include.

James even asks about the timescales and urgency of action on climate change, taking inspiration from the farmland view out of his own window. Don’t be afraid of the task ahead, Naranjo says. “We are in the same boat. We either all help keep the boat afloat, or we all go down. If not for any other reason, don’t get paralysed by the size of the challenge. Be encouraged to help us keep the boat afloat. It’s also good for business.”.

Miguel Naranjo, Programme Officer at UNFCCC.

Laura Lopez, Director, Conference Affairs at UNFCCC, has just spoken at the 60th Congress of Iceberg partner ICCA (the International Congress and Convention Association). She starts off her interview with James by giving a potted history of the Conference of Parties from its beginnings in 1991, and describes the meeting’s function and purpose. COP has gone, she says, from being a negotiation body to being a climate action body, and Lopez details the challenges of making sure all stakeholders have a voice at the table, speaking very noticeably from the standpoint of the event’s organisation.

Lopez discusses COP26’s location in Glasgow and the destination’s interaction with the meeeting. Then COP26’s own carbon footprint and sustainability credentials are put under the microscope. Finally, Lopez talks James through the legacies of past COPs, including what she is predicting the outcomes of COP26 might be, and also describes how COP parties are held to their commitments.

Laura Lopez, Director, Conference Affairs at UNFCCC.

Further content about Net Zero Carbon Events:

Launch of the Event Industry’s “Net Zero Carbon Events” Pledge (UNFCCC session video)

Net Zero Carbon Events: A Pledge for Action (Iceberg article)

Sector Presents Net Zero Carbon Pledge at COP26 (Association Meetings International article)

A “Watershed Moment” for Events – and the World (PCMA article)

Will a Net Zero Pledge Really Change the Business of Events? (Event MB article)

Long Read: The Time for Talking About Net Zero Is Over, It’s Time for Action (Exhibition News article)

Soaring Ambition: Meetings, Air Travel, and Net Zero (Association Meetings International article)

COP26: What It Means to Host the Ultimate Global Event (Meetings & Incentive Travel article)

COP What? Uniting the World to Tackle Climate Change (Meetings & Incentive Travel article)

Global Destination Sustainability Index 2021 (Iceberg article)

The Regenerative Revolution – A New Paradigm for Event Management (Iceberg article)

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