This Event Manager Is Quitting FAMs. Here’s Why.

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I’ve decided not to fly unless absolutely unavoidable. No more FAM trips or networking in sunnier climes,” the Unfortunately, I just don’t see the same understanding/urgency in the rest of the industry, or indeed the wider population.

“Sustainable aviation really is the key if we stand any chance of protecting our planet,” the U.K.-based event manager continued. “Travel is widely reported as being responsible for 70 percent of the emissions related to any event, so a few biodegradable cups and taking away name badges really is a drop in the ocean until we can tackle the travel.”

The fact is that Sarah is right. We, as members of an industry that relies on air travel to do our jobs, can be taking more professional and personal responsibility around growing awareness, and also making some real-life changes in how we travel.

Start with carbon offsets. Yes, they have a bad rap, but work is underway now to create a cohesive and comprehensive set of carbon offset standards to help ensure these credits actually go where they’re supposed to go and do what they’re supposed to do.

In the meantime, one way to do your carbon offset due diligence is to choose a program from a reputable registry, each of which have their own project types and approved methodologies. CarbonBetter, which also offers its own Certified Offset Portfolios, says the major registries include:

There are also steps you can take as an individual traveler, which the Consumer Energy Alliance calls the NOEL approach:

  • Newest aircraft: Try to book on the newest aircraft you can find, since these tend to be more energy-efficient.
  • One way: Try to book a non-stop flight, since almost a quarter of fuel is spent during takeoffs and landings.
  • Economy: First class is wonderful in many ways, but those cushy big seats mean each first-class passenger accounts for a larger per-person percentage of the flight’s carbon emissions.
  • Light luggage: The lighter your bag, the less fuel it takes to get it to your destination.

Finally, reach out to the advocates at the associations that lobby our elected officials on behalf of the business events industry and ask them to put sustainable aviation on their agendas. Among them: the Global Business Travel Association, which will hold its 2023 Legislative Summit June 14-15 and the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance, whose (ECA) whose 2023 Legislative Action Day on Capitol Hill is June 1.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.