Positive Impact Launches Event Sustainability Initiative Ahead of UN Climate Change Conference

The global Road to COP26 program will help more than 1,000 small events-industry businesses work toward a net-zero carbon commitment.

Sustainability Postive Impact Road COP26

Dining Sustainably
In anticipation of hosting COP26, the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow has implemented a new food strategy and is now serving sustainable, responsible and healthier meals to its meeting attendees — which means fresher and more delicious all around. 

Positive Impact Events, a nonprofit whose mission is to create a sustainable event industry, recently launched its latest initiative, titled Road to COP26: Event Sector Transformation. The program will provide support to at least 1,000 small- to medium-sized businesses within the industry, so that they can make a net-zero carbon commitment before COP26, the United Nations' 26th Climate Change Conference taking place Oct. 31 – Nov. 12 in Glasgow.

The initiative is designed for businesses who do not yet have a carbon target, but are willing to spend a few hours every month working toward that goal. "The Road to COP26: Event Sector Transformation is an opportunity for the event supply chain, who will make COP26 possible, to show the world the importance of events and demonstrate leadership in transforming to a low carbon and sustainable sector," said Fiona Pelham, CEO of Positive Impact.

Among the speakers at the virtual launch were Sir David King, founder and chair of Centre for Climate Repair and a former government chief scientific advisor and U.K. government permanent special representative for climate change; Andrew Griffith, the U.K.'s net-zero business champion for COP26; Miguel Naranjo, program officer of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Johan Falk, cofounder and head of the Exponential Roadmap Initiative and a founding partner of the SME Climate Hub; and Kerrin MacPhie, head of business events for VisitBritian/VisitEngland

"We find now that when we talk with planners and buyers about bringing their events to the U.K. and anywhere else, there is a real need for that sustainable, environmentally friendly emphasis on the events," said MacPhie. 

The program isn't only focused on the U.K., however. "We do recognize that this is indeed a global effort, so we aim to bring on board companies across the globe," said Falk. Companies that have already joined include T-Mobile, Maritz Global Events and GES, which hosts 4,000 live experiences annually in more than 75 countries.

To become a part of this initiative, businesses can sign up at Positive Impact Events. Upon registering, participants will be asked to choose a date by when they'll be net-zero. "The majority of the event sector has never made a commitment like this," Pelham said. "We'll be reminding them that the whole point of this initiative is that we explore together how we achieve that target."

Next, participants will register their target again on the SME Climate Hub. Afterward, they'll receive resources like emails, blog posts, podcasts and a checklist on how to reach their goal. "Our intention with this approach is that the sector experiences the right amount of hand-holding and empowering, the right amount of sector-specific language and carbon commitment technology," said Pelham. "The aim is that this initiative supports the UN and government approach with the end goal of impacting policy."