IMEX’s Sustainability Plan Aims to Reach Net Zero by 2030

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IMEX net zero
The IMEX Group has launched a Net Zero strategy that aims to bring its shows — and its business — to net zero by 2030.

The IMEX Group just went public with its new Net Zero Strategy. The plan has the organization’s events, and its entire business operations, to net zero by 2030. This means IMEX would achieve its sustainability goals well ahead of the industry-wide Net Zero Carbon Events (NZCE) initiative, which, in line with the Paris Agreement, seeks to reach the same goal throughout the meetings and events industry by 2050.

The IMEX Group, which was an early signatory to the NZCE initiative and has worked with MeetGreen for more than a decade to measure and report on the show’s sustainability progress, is focusing its efforts on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its IMEX Frankfurt event, held in Frankfurt, Germany each spring, and its IMEX America event, held in Las Vegas in the fall. The plan involves working with its exhibitors and stand constructors to incrementally build their stands using materials that are more reusable, recyclable and sustainable. The efforts — which also include collecting data about indirect greenhouse gas impacts from food production and attendee, exhibitor and staff travel — will be tracked and compiled into a comprehensive emissions footprint that can be used as a baseline IMEX can use to determine future actions needed to reach net zero by 2030.

The efforts already appear to be making some headway. The just-released Sustainable Event Report for IMEX America 2022, which details the show’s energy usage, F&B, materials consumption, reuse and community impact, find that IMEX America’s sustainability achievements already include a landfill diversion rate of 92% and 191,258 kWh of renewable solar energy generated by MGM, which powered activities at the venue, Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Together with recycling, composting and donation, IMEX America last year met the industry threshold for a zero-waste event.

In the next phase, IMEX is partnering with events industry organization isla, whose TRACE platform will measure and report on travel emissions for all who attend IMEX shows. IMEX also has issued an RFP seeking a carbon-offsetting partner to help mitigate travel-related emissions.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group
Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group

“Our journey to net zero is about incremental steps.,” said Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group. “Initially we’re focusing on areas that we can fully control, such as the type of energy we use. Then we’ll expand to areas where we can have significant impact, for example waste management and the materials used in our supply chain. Finally, we will be measuring the impact of travel and when we’re able to, we’ll report on this further.”

For those wanting a sneak peek at some top-of-the-line sustainability practices, IMEX America, to be held Oct. 17–19 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, will be showcasing solutions at the IMEX/EIC People and Planet Theater.

But the group’s goals are broader than just its own shows and operations, she added. “Our roadmap isn’t just about IMEX achieving net zero, but encouraging and leading others to do the same. Our vision is to support a thriving global events industry focused on positive change. This positive change can only happen if organizations look beyond their own journey to net zero and recognize that we’re all part of a wider ecosystem that needs to work together. The expression ‘be the change you want to see in the world’ has never been more relevant.”

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