IACC CEO Mark Cooper joined a panel discussion focused on sustainability within the meetings and events industry at the United Nations Climate Conference COP25 in Madrid.
The panel, ‘Bringing People Together for Climate: The Role of the Events Industry’, included speakers Mariela McIlwraith, Director of Industry Advancement, Events Industry Council; Yalmaz Siddiqui Vice President, Corporate Sustainability at MGM Resorts International and Marta Muñoz from the Spanish Ministry of Ecological Transition (MITECO).
Throughout his session Cooper gave some key examples of how IACC and its 400 international partner venues are working on becoming more sustainable. IACC became the first to attain one of the highest levels of the Event Industry Council’s Sustainable Event Standards for its Europe Knowledge Festival event, which took place in Brussels in October.
Commenting on the achievements of IACC’s partner venues, Cooper said: “400 venues doesn’t sound like a huge number but, when you consider those venues look after more than two million events a year you can see how even the smallest changes can make a big impact on the wider industry.”
The discussion focused on some of the initiatives that IACC put in place for the event, which contributed to attaining the accolade. These included: healthy food options such as a vegan lunch; water stations; compostable and recyclable cups or refillable glass bottles for all delegates; all signage, badges and other information printed on sustainable materials such as recyclable card with no plastic, or available electronically; and, for the pre-conference study tour, all delegates travelled by train or electric/hybrid cars.
The presentation closed with the three pledges that Europe Knowledge Festival attendees committed to – eradicate all single use plastic bottles, remove all single-use coffee cups from guest rooms and to create an online repository of information and organisations which provide advice on how to become more sustainable in partnership with the Events Industry Council.
“I am passionate about creating a more sustainable meetings and events industry.” Cooper said. “While we have made some great efforts and headway in recent years there is still more to be done and through the sharing of knowledge and best practice with our industry colleagues it can be done.”
Amy Calvert, CEO of the Events Industry Council said: “We were honoured to participate in this prestigious event to demonstrate the critical role the events industry can play in addressing the climate crisis globally. The EIC and its members, such as IACC, are committed to developing education, training, and standards that will enable organisers around the world to deliver sustainable events that make a meaningful difference.”
Ahead of the conference Mark Cooper was announced chair-elect for the Events Industry Council board and will assume his role on 1st January 2020.