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Thousands of event professionals commit to sustainability goals

A plan to make the international meetings and event industry more sustainable has been submitted to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Summit in New York.

It is the first time the events industry has been on the agenda at the annual meeting where Heads of State convene to review progress being made against the UN goals.

So far 7,000 ‘commitments for action’ have been made by event professionals, which contributed to an ‘Acceleration Action’ plan, submitted to the summit at UN headquarters.

The plan pledges to collect 100,000 commitments from event professionals and to produce an annual report on the impact of the events industry. It also promises to provide resources to help professionals work more sustainably, including guidelines from UNICEF on how to plan events that respect human rights and a circular economy project looking at the materials used in the sector.

Coordinated and written by not-for-profit, Positive Impact Events, the plan promotes the event industry as a way to ensure Sustainable Development Goal 4 (quality education for all) is achieved.

Funding was provided by industry players Maritz Global Events, IMEX, PCMA, CVent and Oregon Convention Center.

Contributions were gathered via an online survey called ‘MY World’, which received special dispensation, from the UN SDG Action Campaign, as well as praise for the way it was adapted and promoted within the global events industry, to a reach over 1.7 million. The events industry survey marked the first time the UN has supported a campaign of this sort within the event industry and event professionals are being asked to build on this momentum by taking to social media during the summit and sharing the actions they take to create a sustainable event industry using #Act4SDGs

Marta Rojas Sevillano, Communications Lead, UN SDG Action Campaign, said: “For the Goals to be achieved, we need everyone to take action, and to connect these actions with decision makers in SDG planning and review processes at all levels. Events bring people together to learn and collaborate and create an environment where concrete actions can be developed and individuals can be mobilized to join the movement making the Sustainable Development Goals a reality.”

Carina Bauer, IMEX Group CEO, added: “Some parts of our industry are making huge strides and changes to achieve greater sustainability, others are only just starting out. Nevertheless, this is a time for us all to raise awareness, to educate ourselves and those we serve, to collaborate and, above all, to commit to taking action.”