Net Zero Events Not Yet a Priority for Planners

Skift Take

Despite the increased focus on event sustainability, it appears the industry is not quite on track to reach Net Zero targets.

A recent survey by destination management company Ovation Global DMC revealed that less than 15% of current events taking place across the globe focus actively on lowering carbon emissions. This concerning statistic indicates significant challenges remain in the events industry’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

The Switzerland-based company surveyed 556 event professionals, over two-thirds planners, to assess the level of commitment and progress in implementing carbon reduction measures.

“We believe that the events industry has the power to be a catalyst for positive change,” said Rutger Hoorn, vice president of sales & strategic partnerships at Ovation Global DMC. “By embracing sustainable practices, event organizers can not only reduce their environmental impact but also inspire others to follow suit.”

Alarming Lack of Measurement

When asked about measuring carbon footprint measurement practices, only 38% of respondents said their company measures its carbon footprint, and only 33% measure the carbon footprint of their events. Without these key measurements, it is impossible to track any reduction of carbon emissions.

Beyond measuring company and event practices, achieving net zero also requires tracking the entire supply chain’s carbon footprint. Here again, the survey results suggest this is not yet happening. Only 14% of companies mandate that vendors are actively working towards net zero. There does seem to be some momentum here, with over half of the remainder stating they are implementing these measures. However, one-third are not actively looking to work with sustainable vendors.

Key Drivers and Recommendations

Client mandates and creating a positive image and reputation are the top factors driving companies to work toward sustainable event practices. A desire to attract new customers is also a significant driver.

Respondents also gave recommendations for companies to improve their sustainable practices. Top responses included implementing systems for measuring the carbon footprint of events,4-day work weeks, and reducing short-haul air travel.