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How to show a commitment to sustainability

Iain Dix, head of property and projects and director of sustainable strategy at etc.venues, encourages eventprofs to tackle sustainability by committing to climate change programmes.

Hospitality and event businesses should look more at the world at large, including the world of their clients, when making commitments around their sustainability best practice.

The industry is making tremendous efforts to gain greater recognition from Government and business at the highest level as a sector that contributes enormously and valuably to the growth of the economy and to increasing employment.

To complement that approach and ambition, hospitality and event businesses should not only be pursuing accreditation from specialist schemes recognised within the sector, they should also look outwards and commit to climate change programmes that are recognised and adopted by major international organisations.

SME Climate Hub

A good example of such a scheme is the SME Climate Hub, a one-stop-shop climate action platform for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to curb carbon emissions, build business resilience and take climate leadership.

It was launched at the start of the UN General Assembly Week by the High Level Climate Action Champion for the United Kingdom, Nigel Topping who is playing a major role in the development of COP26. He is helping to drive action from businesses, investors, organisations, cities, and regions on climate change and coordinate this work with Governments and parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The SME Climate Hub is co-hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, the We Mean Business coalition and the United Nations Race to Zero campaign. It has received support from several supply chain leaders including BT Group, Ericsson, IKEA, Telia and Unilever, as well as funding support from Amazon and Verizon through their partnership with the We Mean Business coalition.

Every organisation that joins the SME Climate Hub must sign the UN-recognised 'SME Climate Commitment', which forms part of the SME Climate Hub. In making this commitment, the company pledges to halve its carbon emissions by 2030, achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and to regularly report on progress towards these aims.

This is a pledge to act, a commitment to achieving targets and to reporting results. It is a great way to ensure continual progress towards those targets.

With so many important organisations hosting it and so many major enterprises supporting the campaign, it was, then, a great surprise when we signed the pledge to be told that etc.venues was the first hospitality company in the UK to do so.

If our industry is to make an impact and be recognised at the highest level for its determination to pay more than lip service to sustainability and climate change, then every business in our industry should sign up to the SME Climate Hub and other national and global schemes that have the support of organisations outside of our industry.