Global News Updates

Events industry launches Acceleration Action towards UN SDGs

Industry leaders outline how the events sector can be a catalyst for global change at UN Climate Change Summit.

World leaders gathered for the UN Climate Change Summit in New York this week, reviewing progress against the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

For the first time ever, the summit included commitments for action from the global business events industry.

For the past three years sustainability campaigner, Positive Impact Events, has produced a number of Memorandums of Understanding with United Nations bodies to understand how the events industry can accelerate progress towards the SDGs.

“The SDGs will require people to come together to collaborate, connect, inspire and be educated,” said Positive Impact Events CEO, Fiona Pelham, at a dedicated press conference at IMEX America (10-12 September).

“This is the outcome of an event whether it is a sport event, a business event or a cultural event. Yet so far events have not been recognised as vital to achieve the SDGs.”

With support and funding from Maritz Global Events, IMEX, Cvent, Oregon Convention Center and PCMA, an ‘Acceleration Action’ was announced at IMEX America.

The action aims to engage the global events industry around the UN SDGs – and how to position the industry as vital to achieving the SDGs – with a particular focus on UN SDG 4: Quality Education.

“Currently the indicator for this target, i.e. the way it is measured, is only around school and university learning,” Pelham explains.

“It would make sense that the event industry start to promote itself as the way to inform, educate, inspire and engage everyone beyond school age in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development.

Fiona Pelham

“For example attending an event where education was given to the audience on human rights such as how to identify a trafficking victim.

“This knowledge can be used beyond the event. Or taking part in a community give back programme as part of your event could inspire you to do the same with your family after an event,” she says.

The Acceleration Action commits to ensuring that by 2030, the 1.5 billion people who attend business events every year will acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development.

This action was submitted to the UN Climate Change Summit in New York this week, with more than 7,000 commitments for action from event professionals from 58 countries.

The action promises to secure 100,000 commitments from event professionals around the world and will produce an annual report on the impact of the event industry.

We encourage the event industry and event professionals to build on this momentum. Share the actions you take to create a sustainable events via the hashtag: #Act4SDGs