The 27th MEETINGS 2023 run by Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) in June will be the most sustainable yet, with a renewed commitment to reducing the event's greenhouse gas footprint.
MEETINGS 2023 is working towards Toitū net carbon zero certification as a Certified Event Operation for its first event in New Zealand's capital city, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.
BEIA Chief Executive, Lisa Hopkins says they are excited to start the Toitū net carbon zero certification programme, as well as initiating further sustainability goals for MEETINGS 2023.
“As the business events industry's peak body, it is our role to lead the way in sustainability practices and make them core to everything we do,” she says.
“Working with Toitū to achieve this certification means all emissions associated with the planning and operations of MEETINGS 2023 will be measured, audited in alignment with strict world-leading criteria, and then offset via quality assessed carbon credits.
“Not only will this show our exhibitors and buyers we are committed to reducing environmental impact, but also it will give us the platform to work towards continual reduction of carbon emissions for MEETINGS year-on-year,” Hopkins says.
MEETINGS' 2023 venue, Tākina Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre holds a 5-Star Green Design certification from the New Zealand Green Building Council.
Features of Tākina include high performance double glazing, automatically controlled LED lighting, heat pumps to reduce fossil fuels, ventilation and water efficient fittings and rainwater harvesting, energy efficiency signage options, and environmentally-friendly materials sourced from sustainable forestry.
Other initiatives for MEETINGS 2023 include carbon-offsetting hosted buyers air travel with Air New Zealand's FlyNeutral programme, reducing printed material, eliminating satchels, and partnering with local charities Kibosh Food Rescue, Gillies McIndoe Research and Wellington Zoo to make donations on behalf of every hosted buyer.
“We know our 200 plus Hosted Buyers, who come from far and wide across New Zealand and Australia, are the lifeblood of MEETINGS. We also know that getting here comes at a cost to the environment, so BEIA will be offsetting carbon emissions from all hosted buyer flights from Australia and around New Zealand.
“While we are passionate about reducing the environmental impact of MEETINGS, we can't do it alone. We are encouraging our exhibitors and buyers to take whatever steps they can to help reduce their footprint too,” Hopkins says.
Exhibitors can help by offsetting carbon emissions from travel and freight to Wellington if possible, using sustainable packaging, reducing waste from one-time items by creating reusable generic signage or digital signage options, and bringing reusable coffee cups and water bottles.
“We are also encouraging exhibitors to use sustainable, eco-friendly and biodegradable giveaway items, and arrange for plants used on stands to be donated or re-planted,” she says.
Hosted buyers can make a difference by bringing reusable coffee cups, water bottles, and bags, and by using the MEETINGS App, recycling name badges, walking to the venue if staying locally, and choosing one of three charities for BEIA to donate to.
MEETINGS 2023 is being held on 21 and 22 June in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. Limited spaces are available on the MEETINGS 2023 Hosted Buyer programme until applications close on Wednesday 19 April. Day Buyer registrations open on Wednesday 26 April.
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