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Do more, earlier! Meeting planners told ahead of COP26

Meetings and event professionals are being encouraged to take more, and earlier, action on climate change, ahead of November’s COP26 conference in Glasgow.

The call came at a special event involving representatives from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UK government and SME Climate Hub.

The meeting talked about the importance of the sector showing evidence of action ahead of the global conference on climate change, and presenting a proactive industry taking on its responsibilities around climate change.

Speakers at the event included Sir David King, former UK Government permanent special representative for climate change; Miguel Naranjo, programme officer, UNFCCC; Andrew Griffith, UK’s net-zero business champion for COP 26; Johan Falk, co-founder and head of the Exponential Roadmap Initiative; Kerrin McPhie, head of business events, VisitBritain/VisitEngland; and Richard Shackleton, deputy head of mission, British Embassy, Budapest.

Naranjo said: “We have similar initiatives already in place within the fashion and sport sectors. We (UNFCCC) are acting as a neutral convenor to try and agree joint initiatives that help to reduce the sector’s impact on the environment. These are voluntary, free of consequence commitments, and are developed in conjunction with the sector. We are already having advanced conversations around the world (with the events sector) on how this could work, and we’re looking to bring more people into the conversation.”

Andrew Griffith added: “I want to thank the 34 members of the events industry who have already become climate action framework members. This is a really brilliant opportunity to show the world that we are the solution, not the problem, and that we can build a real crescendo of momentum to give all of our leaders around the world the imperative to act. One of my big asks is for every business to set themselves a target, make a pledge, take some action, and the best way is to use the Race to Zero. If we do it now, it will amplify and resonate greatly.”

The event also saw the launch of ‘The Roadmap to COP 26: Event Sector Transformation’, a joint initiative between the UNFCCC, Race to Zero, SME Climate Hub, and event sustainability experts Positive Impact. The campaign is intended to provide the roadmap for the events sector to raise awareness, engage in the UN’s sustainability goals, and input into an industry wide framework for sustainability.

“It makes sense that the events industry takes on a leading role ahead of the conference; because COP26 is an event,” said Fiona Pelham, CEO and founder at Positive Impact. “However, as with all the outcomes that will come out of COP26, much of the work needs to be done beforehand. For us, this is about presenting a sector that is already on its way, that is taking giant steps forward and has a framework in mind that other governments and industry sectors can buy into.”

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