Happy Earth Day 2021!
The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22nd in 1970 and marked the birth of the modern environmental movement. The theme of Earth Day 2021 is “restore our Earth” — as the Covid-19 pandemic is still ravaging our world and the hospitality industry, let’s take a pause and zoom into a few facts and, our perspectives about the future.
In 2017, the global MICE industry size was valued at US$805 billion and is projected to reach US$1,439.3 billion in 2025 according to a report from Allied Market Research. If generally speaking that the MICE industry is recognized to contribute positively to the development of local communities (for example through employment), it goes without saying that it is also coming with its fair share of environmental impacts. According to McKinsey, a conference participant generates 176kg of CO2 emissions per day, and that is equal to 1,233 barrels of oil consumed for a 1,000 person, three day meeting. Meanwhile and in the nearly 50 years between 1970 to 2019 ,the world’s annual CO2 emissions jumped from 14.83 billion tonnes to 36.44 billion tonnes. This dramatic increase can be directly linked to a heavily industrialized and ultra-connected world where the economic rules of supply and demand translate into overconsumption of goods and services that were once scarce or accessible only to few. The MICE industry itself bears a strong responsibility in this situation as it is very transversal and has carbon footprints across transportation, F&B, energy, waste or water consumption.
With so many different industry sectors and countries involved, it does seem like a big challenge to think about regulating MICE operations. A decade ago, it was still early days of being cognisant about sustainability matters but Asia Pacific cities were certainly not resting on their laurels.
In 2013, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) published its sustainability guidelines for the Singapore MICE industry, producing a framework to assess the environmental impact and carbon footprint across different event categories such as Audio Visual (AV), Organizers, Food and Beverage, Hotels & Venues and Transport. It might seem like a drop in the ocean as a destination of only 728.3 km² but Singapore is the only other Asian City in the Top 10 Convention Cities according to the 2019 Global Rankings by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). The city has been recognized to be at the forefront of innovation and developing such guidelines will only inspire further adhesion from the broader MICE industry.
Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB)’s adoption of ISO 20121: Events Sustainability Management Systems has also given rise to Thailand as only the 2nd country in the world to implement ISO 20121 for MICE operators, a framework that debuted for the 2012 London Olympics. And it’s not just government-led either. Professional organisations have stepped up to play their part too – Meetings and Events Australia has partnered with the Sustainable Events Alliance to make ISO 20121 and sustainability management more accessible to its members.
Covid-19 is often described as a catalyst when it comes to sustainability and digitalization. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the MICE industry has taken a serious blow with the impossibility or the restrictions of organizing meetings be it local or international, of large or small scale. The rise of hybrid events has proved to be not only reduce carbon footprint but also to be effective and cost-efficient.
We are also firm believers that physical business events are here to stay; just look around us and the effort put in to ensure the safe resumption of events and venues stepping up to truly be more sustainable and making positive impacts to the local community.
At 1000meetings we are fully committed to use the power of technology to enable our community to make a positive impact to our Planet. Every year we venue-source for over 1,000 meetings through our fully digital proprietary platform, reducing transport and paper consumption by more than 60%, and optimizing our buyers’ time spent on venue sourcing by 97%, returning freedom back to the perpetually busy event organisers and meeting planners. As of 2020, we are also partnering with some of the industry’s most recognized players to organize virtual and/or hybrid meetings all around Asia, so on this Earth Day (or any day really), drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re feeling inspired to create the next event with a positive impact.
Oh yes – do remember to turn off the lights after reading this.
Commercial Director, Partnership Services
& also passionate about Sustainability!