I came back from my recent attendances at ‘Reset Connect’ and ‘The Meetings Show’ buzzing with ideas around sustainable event management. The recurring themes across both forums were the absence of clear Scope 3 emission targets and the lack of a joined-up action plan to meet Net Zero pledges.
What has become evident is that industry-wide, there is a need for greater collaboration up and down the value chain. We can achieve more progress, more quickly by working collectively and transparently.
Picture this: a vibrant network of event management companies, suppliers and clients coming together to tackle sustainability by communicating beyond silos, sharing our successes and learning from each other's best practices. It all starts with capturing accurate data on carbon emissions, waste generation and resource consumption, so we can understand sustainability performance throughout the supply chain – not just the individual links.
Where does carbon accounting come into the equation?
Our corporate clients face the challenge of measuring Scope 3 emissions — indirect emissions from activities outside their immediate control. In the context of events, these might include participants’ travel, venues and accommodation, food and beverage, event materials such as printed media, signage and merchandise, transportation of goods, waste management and even digital infrastructure.
Carbon accounting platforms are a key tool in driving climate action. The software gathers data from various sources within an organisation, including energy consumption, transportation, waste generation and other activities that produce GHGs. It uses standard emission factors and algorithms to calculate the amount of greenhouse gas emissions associated with each activity. It then analyses the data to identify emission hotspots and trends.
Carbon accounting platforms present the emission data in easy-to-understand visualisations and reports, allowing businesses to track their carbon footprint over time, uncover opportunities for improvement and compare performance against targets.
Supply chain collaboration – upstream and downstream
Carbon accounting in a business ecosystem involves systematically measuring and tracking GHG emissions throughout the entire value chain. It’s a dynamic model that requires information to flow bidirectionally between the client and all its suppliers. This collaborative approach to carbon accounting can generate a more comprehensive understanding of emissions, supporting more effective reduction strategies. Let’s see what this might look like in a hypothetical scenario.
Carbon accounting platforms streamline the complex process of tracking emissions across the event supply chain. Originally designed for large corporations, there are now affordable, accessible solutions for SMEs, which contribute to a substantial proportion of larger companies’ scope 3 emissions.
Until the adoption of carbon accounting platforms becomes more widespread, this model is a lot more labour-intensive to put into practice. But it’s a useful illustration of the art of the possible. It shows how a bi-directional flow of information and communication can equip event professionals to inspire and influence sustainable procurement guidelines that set the stage for responsible decision-making, rather than simply complying with whatever policies are coming from the top down.
By working together, guided by technology, it won’t be long before we will be able to define clearer Scope 3 emissions targets and create a roadmap towards measurable reductions that make a real impact on this planet we call home.
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