he UN-Climate Change Conference is scheduled to open in ten days, however not in Santiago de Chile, but instead in Spain at the IFEMA – Feria de Madrid. The Chileans were forced to cancel the event owing to on-going protests in the country, and the Spaniards volunteered to step in. The UN Climate Change Conference will take place under the presidency of the government of Chile and will be held with logistical support from the government of Spain. The Spaniard now are faced with putting together a conference with 25,000 participants in four weeks with support by Chileans and the United Nations, something calling for joint effort.
It will take our joint efforts to effectively counter what Madrid is all about: climate change. We were all aware that we were facing a factual climate crisis long before our children started striking for climate action, but other than other campaigns, the Fridays For Future crusade propagates the issue to our families and friends, to our companies and congress centers. The future of our biosphere is being discussed on stages and in break-out rooms by academia and corporates, by politicians and society as a whole. As global host, our industry not only has a chance to make a real contribution; as one of the major producers of CO2 and waste, it's actually our duty and obligation to show some commitment here.
And that's actually happening: while a few years ago, each single trade association would have installed its own guidelines and label, the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) is now taking the lead by asking "How does the Meetings Industry contribute to the SDGs?" The United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals such as 'Climate Action' (SDG13) interact with each other in the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and provide us with a benchmark for conventions. How this can be done is manifested in the ICCA Congress 2019 – Self Sustainability Checklist, which enabled the 983 delegates to review and assess their own conduct. Or the IMEX Group, which as lunch sponsor at the ICCA congress served no meat. "This way we will save 1,024,200 liters of water which equals the daily water for 512,000 people," said COO Nalan Emre, referring to SDG12 ('Responsible Consumption and Production'). "Imagine what we could save at all our events!"
To those arguing that all this isn't really effective and instead pointing to the climate package or Greta Thunberg, I can only say: Do something! Pick one of the 17 sustainable goals and get started! Each one can contribute to fulfillment of the climate promises of Paris or Madrid.