AEO - Association of event organisers

Sustainability

AEO

An industry initiative to address climate change

At COP26 in November 2021, world leaders met to present how their countries will achieve the 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 in order to deliver on the Paris Agreement. During this meeting, the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge was launched setting out the events industry’s commitment to play its role in addressing climate change.

What does this mean?

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 towards net zero by 2050
  • Develop common methodologies for measuring the industry’s direct, indirect and supply chain greenhouse gas emissions
  • Construct an industry-wide roadmap towards 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
  • Establish common mechanisms for reporting progress and sharing best practice

This year, supporters of the initiative will be invited to work together to define an industry Net Zero Roadmap for Events that is aligned with the targets of the Pledge. The Roadmap will be launched at COP 27 in November/December 2022.

 

 

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The Race to Net Zero is on!

COP26 fired the starting pistol, and the UK Events industry is up and running. Sustainability must be part of our thinking in every aspect of our business

The associations have a part to play in ensuring our members have the support and insight that they need to work towards meeting the industry pledge.

Our Cross Association Sustainability group has welcomed an influx of members to participate in the great work they continue to carry out.

The plan for 2022

An industry wide pilot project to measure the carbon footprint of a large UK event at KBB Birmingham, which takes place in March.

Informa Markets, GES and the NEC have joined as a taskforce to map out the processes of each stakeholder and their carbon contribution to the event. The learnings and results will then be shared with the wider sustainability group, assessed and put into practice at a second event case study in AW22.

Our short-term objective is to open up dialogue between stakeholders, so they understand the types of questions that they should be asking each other, with each taking away different learnings from the process and implementing these in their businesses.

Long term, this will feed directly into our existing sustainability commitments, support the industry pledge road map and give us the data needed to create an event carbon calculator that can be used by all to measure the environmental impact of live events.

Our members can then choose to prioritise and focus on areas of concern and take responsibility for the actions that will help them towards their net zero goal.

If you are interested in being part of the conversation, get in touch.

 

Sustainability chairs

Cross Association Sustainability Commitments

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Our Journey to Sustainability

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The Cross Association Sustainability Working Group provides AEV, AEO and ESSA members with focus on the important issues around sustainability and gives all the ability to work together to help reduce the event industry’s impact on the environment.

In January 2019 the (then) group chair (Martin Cottrell, A1 Event and Exhibition Cleaners) and vice (Lucille Ryan, Informa PLC) met to create short and long-term objectives.

Olympia London offered to fund The MICE Machine who held two workshops for the group at Informa PLC London. The MICE Machine assisted Olympia London form their “Grand Plan” sustainability strategy. They have facilitated a complete review of the scope of Olympia London’s sustainability efforts, including a thorough, practical assessment of the venue’s achievements and opportunities for improvement, strategy workshops for a group of champions drawn from each department in the organisation and the development of objectives and actions for them to achieve.

How will they work?

The aim is for AEO, AEV and ESSA Association members to work towards a consistent base level of sustainability performance. The sector specific commitments enable all parties to have a clear idea of what they should be looking at and allow for tracking progress against this guidance.  

commitments
  • Each commitment is divided into one or more principle
  • The set of principles are designed to provide a framework for all to ensure they are implementing a basic level of sustainability
  • They are intended to help identify if there are any areas needing particular focus
  • Resources such as achievement case studies, eGuide content, templates and guidance documents will be available to help Association members achieve the principles
  • Members of the Cross-Association Sustainability Working Group will be invited to feedback progress during group meetings and offer mutual support
  • A self-scoring system will allow members to track their progress against each principal within the set of commitments
This is not a proviso of membership; responses will not be reported publicly. It is recognised that sustainability planning is for some in its infancy and these can guide our members direct focus and evolve their environmental responsibility considerations in line with industry peers.

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Photo: Cross Association Sustainability Working Group during MICE Machine training sessions – March and August 2019

ESSA Sustainability Glossary of Terms

AEO’s sister association ESSA has produced ‘A Glossary of terms for sustainability’ in collaboration with their sustainability group and Green Circle Solutions.

The document shares useful terms and acronyms along with their definitions to help you make sense of your sustainability journey.

View the glossary here

Top 5 tips to get you started on making your business more sustainable

View the tips here

Members Only Resource

This resource is open to AEO, AEV and ESSA members only, accessible behind the associations' member zones.

If you're a non-member organiser and you would like to access this resource, and the wealth of other resources and information that we offer - please contact info@aeo.org.uk to discuss membership opportunities.

 

View the resource

  • "Broadway Events joined the AEO on the Enterprise Membership. We’ve already taken advantage of the many benefits including the excellent FaceTime Masterclasses and training guides for exhibitors."
    Emma Barrett
    Broadway Events
  • "We are a member of the AEO because it is a proactive association for the events industry. As an organiser it provides us with high value ideas, networking, guidance and information."
    David Harrison
    PPMA Group
  • "This year, the association has led working groups to address industry issues and put on some amazing events full of insightful content for both organisers and, through the AEOs FaceTime initiative, exhibitors. In addition, the AEO has represented the industry at a Governmental level to raise awareness of the importance of events to the UK economy."
    Paul Byrom
    Upper Street Events
  • "I genuinely believe that if you’re involved in organising events you should become a member of the AEO."
    Simon Kimble
    Clarion Events
  • "Our membership of the AEO represents real and tangible value for UBM - it provides fantastic networking opportunities, practical training for our team as well as valuable insight into the state of our industry."
    Simon Parker
    Informa Markets
  • "As an Association business, we appreciate the excellent work the secretariat of the AEO do for our community. From the events side of our business, the AEO provides an excellent return on investment, providing thought leadership, fantastic networking, brilliant awards, excellent research and FaceTime, a valuable tool to tell our markets why exhibitions and events should be an essential part of the marketing mix."
    Neil Felton
    FESPA
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    Stephen Brooks
    Mack Brooks Exhibitions
  • “Knowledge is power and the AEO dinners are certainly powerful, there is always a wealth of knowledge at the table. Insightful presentations make for a constructive and extremely social way to learn from the experts who’ve done it before. I attended the Japanese evening and gained really valuable insight about the culture and how best to communicate with a local audience.”
    John Whitaker
    Vice President Marketing, Data & Digital , dmg events
  • "We have the opportunity to contribute positively to the industry as well as gaining valuable insight and advice. There’s no need to spend valuable time and money reinventing the wheel when you have so many experienced professionals in AEO membership to learn from”
    Emma Cartmell
    CHS Group
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    Sharon Azam
    GovNet Communications
  • I just wanted to send my most sincere thanks for everything that you and the AEO team are doing to help navigate the events industry through the pandemic. The working groups and communication from the AEO have been excellent and I’m really appreciative of being part of such a wonderful organisation.
    Simon Burns
    ICHF Events
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    QD Events LTD
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    Dan Assor
    CloserStill Media
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    Optic UK
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    Claire Adams
    FESPA
  • The AEO provides an opportunity to make a difference, to work with other companies for the good of the industry as a whole, but beyond that, it provides it’s members with valuable insight and tangible benefits to grow your business, upskill and engage your teams. For those reasons, our membership is in indelible ink on the each annual budget. In short, if you aren’t a member, you are missing out.
    Ed Tranter
    73 Media

 

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