200 Organizations Join JMIC’s Net Zero Carbon Events Initiative

Northstar Travel Group is among the early signatories in the commitment to hold climate-safe meetings by 2050. 

The industry calls for action to address the climate crisis.
The industry calls for action to address the climate crisis. Photo Credit: Man As Thep for Adobe Stock

Northstar Travel Group is among 200 industry organizations to rally behind Net Zero Carbon Events, an initiative introduced this week by the Joint Meetings Industry Council. Its aim is to engage the global events industry in committing to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Tom Kemp, chairman and CEO of Northstar Travel Group
Tom Kemp, chairman and CEO of Northstar Travel Group

The program, supported by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), coincides with COP26, being held now through Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland. At COP26, business and government leaders are presenting their plans to achieve a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, fulfilling goals set by the Paris Agreement. In conjunction with this event, profit and nonprofit organizations from across all sectors are committing to reaching zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner.

"There's nothing more important than improving the long-term sustainability of our planet," said Tom Kemp, chairman and CEO of Northstar Travel Group. "We're all witnessing today the degradation of our planet by the impact of carbon emissions. I don't know today exactly what it's going to take for us to get to net zero, and whether it will take until 2050, 2040 or 2030 — but we need to start that journey right now. Until you have that commitment and that vision, no progress is being made. It's paralysis."

Phocuswright Will Be Carbon-Neutral

As part of Northstar Travel Group's commitment to sustainability, the upcoming Phocuswright Conference will be Northstar's first carbon-neutral event. To be held Nov. 15-17, the event is expected to bring together 750 people in Hollywood, Florida. In an effort to minimize waste, exhibitors will not be able to hand out paper brochures and there will be no plastic water bottles or other such materials at the event. Carbon offsets have also been purchased to help achieve carbon neutral emissions.

As a company, "we don't want just write about our climate commitment; we want to live it," said Kemp. Northstar produces more than 100 events each year. Kemp noted that the company is committed to not just making its own meetings more sustainable, but also working with the global MICE and travel industries to cumulatively address climate change. This will involve working with Northstar's partners, suppliers and the communities they serve. 

An Industry-Wide Initiative

The Net Zero Carbon Events initiative aims to bring together a wide range of industry stakeholders to:

  • Jointly communicate our industry’s commitment to tackling climate change and driving toward net zero by 2050;
  • Develop common methodologies for measuring the industry’s direct, indirect and supply-chain greenhouse-gas emissions;
  • Construct an industrywide roadmap toward net zero by 2050, and emissions reductions by 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement, with support and guidance on key issues;
  • Foster collaboration with suppliers and customers to ensure alignment and common approaches; and
  • Establish common mechanisms for reporting progress and sharing best practices.

Born from a discussion with the UNFCCC secretariat, the initiative was developed by a task force made up of JMIC members UFI–The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, the International Association of Convention Centres, and the International Congress and Convention Association. They were joined by representatives from Emerald Expositions (U.S.), Freeman (U.S.), the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (China), Informa (U.K.), the Javits Center (U.S.), MCI Group (Switzerland), Messe München (Germany), RX (Reed Exhibitions, U.K.) and the Scottish Event Campus (U.K.).