President's Message

COP26, the 2021 United Nations climate change conference, adjourned a couple of weeks ago in Glasgow.

It will be fair to say, we all had a bitter sweet feeling about the conference and its outcomes. On one hand, all the world leaders are showing commitment to climate change. On the other hand, we all felt, ‘too little too late’.

I was actually more encouraged from what was happening outside the conference venue and in many more cities around the world. About 100,000 people (most of them youth activist, next generation representatives) marched in Glasgow to demand more action on the climate crisis. This protest was the biggest during the COP26 summit and took place alongside hundreds of similar events around the world.

Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate told protesters “Leaders rarely have the courage to lead. It takes citizens, people like you and me, to rise up and demand action. And when we do that in great enough numbers, our leaders will move.” Looking at the business event industry, it can be perceived as not sustainable. However, we all know the importance of bringing people together. We all understand there’s no real replacement to face to face meetings.

So how do we go about this? Sustainability is not only about climate change, but also about what we leave to the next generation when it comes to environmental, economic and social issues. Looking at the 17 UNSDGs we can clearly see that sustainability is also about: Quality education, Gender Equality, Good health and Wellbeing and much more. The meetings we manage and the way we manage them can impact and advance those goals.

So, if we follow Vanessa Nakate, it is our reasonability as event professionals to ensure we create more sustainable events while reducing our carbon footprint. We need to lead by example – And it must start today!

Yours, Ori Ori Lahav, President 2020-2023

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