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Cavendish Venues signatory to the Net Zero Carbon Events Initiative introduced at the Cop 26 in Glasgow

November 25, 2021

Cavendish Venues is delighted to announce that we have signed the Net Carbon Initiative first launched at the Cop conference in Glasgow, we are the first English Venue to sign the initiative, perhaps an indication of Cavendish Venues market leading approach to issues of sustainability.

What is the Initiative:

Sustainable development has long been a focus for the events industry. Connected to programmes like the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Guidelines (UNSDGs), industry initiatives have addressed everything from waste management and energy conservation to local sourcing and hiring practices. The principles of sustainability are now firmly imbedded within industry practices and client expectations.

Now, that focus is intensifying even further with the realization that we need to accelerate our actions in response to the threat of climate change, not only to secure our own future but to support the many other sectors we rely on for our existence.

Engaging now means being a part of a global collaboration for action – and failing to act risks being left behind.

The Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) is proud to host – Net Zero Carbon Events – to connect the events industry globally to the rapidly growing movement towards net zero by 2050.

In November 2021, world leaders met in Glasgow, Scotland at COP26 to present how their countries will achieve the 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 in order to deliver on the Paris Agreement. At this meeting, the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge was launched with over 100 first signatories, setting out the events industry’s commitment to play its role in addressing climate change.

Through this initiative, we aim to link all stakeholders in the corporate, professional, academic and destination communities world-wide 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

Over the coming year all supporters of the initiative will be invited to work together to define an industry Net Zero Roadmap for Events that is aligned with the targets of the Pledge. The Roadmap will be launched at COP 27 in November/December 2022.

What is Net Zero?

Net Zero refers to a balance between man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and their removal from the atmosphere. To achieve this balance, GHG emissions must be reduced and the non-avoided ones must be compensated or “neutralized” through the use of long-term carbon capture solutions.

What is the Difference Between Net Zero and Carbon Neutral?
For carbon neutrality, the non-avoided emissions are compensated through the use of traditional offsets (carbon credits coming from projects that develop renewable energies, efficient transport etc.). Carbon neutrality can be an intermediate step towards net zero.

The Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement is an international treaty on climate change adopted in 2015 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris. The Agreement set a long-term temperature goal to keep the rise in mean global temperature to well below 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels, and preferably limit the increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F). In order to achieve this there is a recognition that global carbon emissions need to be reduced by 50% by 2030 from a 2018 baseline and for net zero emissions to be achieved by the second half of the century.

Net Zero and the Events Industry
The events industry is a complex network of stakeholders including companies who are directly involved in delivering events, such as venues, event organisers, exhibitors and their suppliers who provide food and beverage, onsite equipment and signage, among other things. In addition, many events include the requirement for visitors and exhibitors to travel to and stay at a location. Addressing the carbon emissions across the whole value chain is complicated and challenging, and many elements of an event (such as transportation and hotel stays) are not directly under the control of those putting on an event. Therefore, quantifying impact and defining responsibilities needs to underpin any ambition for the events industry to become net zero.

In addition, many companies from the event industry have already implemented strong strategies to reduce their carbon emissions and it is clear that the solutions often rely on the reality of each local environment and size of organization. This initiative recognises these challenges and through its collaborative nature will seek to drive alignment across the different players so that a common roadmap can be developed.

What is the pledge:

Following best available science on the impacts of climate change, we acknowledge that there is an urgent need to accelerate the transition towards global net zero emissions, and for the events industry to play its part in helping to deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement and ensuring a just transition.

Recognising that the events industry is comprised of a complex and fragmented mix of stakeholders from across the globe, we acknowledge that while individual companies and organisations may take specific actions to minimise their carbon impact, to drive meaningful progress a system-wide approach is also needed.

In this context, my organization commits to support the goal of net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, in line with global efforts set out by the Paris Agreement to limit warming to 1.5°C and reduce total global GHG emissions by 50% by 2030, and to actively promote and advocate for industry efforts throughout the value chain.

In pursuit of this aim, my organization undertakes to:

  1. Before the end of 2023, publish the organisation’s pathway to achieve net zero by 2050 at the latest, with an interim target in line with the Paris Agreement’s requirement to reduce global GHG emissions by 50% by 2030
  • Identify and prioritise actions to reduce emissions [such as energy management, water conservation, materials management, food and beverage waste reduction, housekeeping initiatives, sustainable procurement, stakeholder management and employee engagement] and set goals accordingly
  • Address residual emissions, once they’ve been minimized, through the purchase of credible carbon offsets with efforts to transition to those that represent carbon removal/capture
  • Contribute resources, time and/or expertise to develop a collective low carbon roadmap for the events industry
  1. Collaborate with partners, suppliers and customers to drive change across the value chain
  • Publicly announce the signing of this pledge and actively promote and advocate for net zero across the industry
  • Advocate for carbon reductions and perform due diligence as part of procurement processes
  • Promote and participate in initiatives within and beyond the events industry to raise awareness of synergies, find solutions and design collaborative opportunities for reducing carbon emissions
  1. Measure and track our Scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG emissions according to industry best practice
  • Embed carbon measurement systems into operations
  • Identify and share appropriate metrics and methodologies for measurement
  • Contribute data to industry initiatives to enhance common methodologies and metrics
  1. Report on our progress at least every two years
  • Publish our key metrics and progress
  • Share best practices and lessons learned
  • Support collective industry-wide reporting and communications

What next for Cavendish Venues sustainable journey:

For 25+ years we have been pursing this agenda, from early initiatives like using pencils made from recycled plastic to being one of the first to get rid of single used bottled water we would welcome any suggestions as to how we can go further. One possible initiative is to move from our carbon neutral status to a carbon negative status, via massively increasing the number of trees we plant.

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