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German tradeshows set 2040 carbon neutral goal

Here’s your roundup of what’s been happening in the events industry this week – with sustainability, digitisation and content excellence in the spotlight.

IMEX has appointed a new head of programmes, German tradeshows are going carbon neutral by 2040 and a new report shows the important role tech will play in future conferences.

German trade fairs to go carbon neutral by 2040

The German trade fair industry has set itself the target of becoming carbon neutral by 2040.

A total of 69 planners, associations and hosts across the country gathered through their umbrella organisation AUMA at an annual conference in Berlin.

They set themselves goals to become cleaner, including a carbon neutral target which outpaces a wider industry scheme by 10 years.

Philip Harting, chairman of AUMA, said: “Trade fairs are part of the solution on the way to a climate-neutral economy. Trade fairs are the meeting places where industry partners, as problem solvers, jointly pave the way to a sustainable future.

“Our trade fair venues have been working for years to become increasingly sustainable. Now we are setting industry-wide sustainability standards for our sector of the economy.

“The principle of avoidance before reduction before compensation applies. In order to remain attractive as the meeting places for the problem solvers of our time, we are tackling this major task in an extremely tense economic situation for our industry after almost two years of a trade fair ban.” 

Other targets include that German trade fairs will supply themselves with 100 percent green power.

As early as next year, the industry will also make sustainability a requirement in tenders with its industry partners.

It comes after the Net Zero Carbon Events initiative, which commits exhibition organisers to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

Informa completes portfolio focus programme

Informa has announced the completion its “portfolio focus” programme after the divestment of one of its assets.

The major organiser has sold off Maritime Intelligence for £385 million ($458m), bringing the full value brought through its Growth Acceleration Plan II to around £2.5 billion (c.$3bn).

It comes as Informa published its first half results, which showed statutory revenues rising by 59.1% and adjusted operating profit increasing by 227% to £234.5m.

Stephen A. Carter, CEO, said: ”Over the past year, we have streamlined and refocused the group to concentrate on our leadership positions in academic markets and B2B markets.

“By divesting non-core assets, including the sale of Maritime Intelligence, we have generated $3bn in value, providing additional flexibility for shareholder returns, additional growth investment and further targeted expansion.”

New IMEX appointment to revamp educational content

IMEX has appointed a new head of programmes to revamp its educational content.

Tahira Endean takes on the role alongside a three-year strategy to capitalise on the group’s free-to-attend schedule.

It aims to to meet the industry’s “thirst for knowledge” and continuous development while embracing a growth mindset.

Carina Bauer, CEO, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Tahira to our team. Her extensive industry experience, large network of contacts and fresh approach supports our aim to keep on innovating and provide powerful, purposeful and multi-faceted experiences for all attendees.”

The IMEX education programme was envisioned and developed in 2005 by Dale Hudson, knowledge and events director.

It has grown in size and quality over the last 15 years, adding value to the visitor experience. 

Tahira added: “We’re focused on designing learning with buyer requirements in mind first and foremost as we want them to have meetings that are enhanced by education at the show.

“Our combined aim is for attendees to leave each session with tangible takeaways that also support their meetings onsite.

“IMEX’s legacy of tailored education that meets the particular needs of agencies, associations and corporate event professionals has always been strong; we’re looking to build on that too.”

Manchester Central attendances surge past lockdown levels

Manchester Central has recorded surging delegate numbers as attendance levels soar above pre-lockdown levels.

The venue held 56 events and welcomed 100,419 visitors between April and June, a 13% rise in delegates compared to the same period in 2019.

This resurgence in numbers contributed £38.2 million economic impact to the region, an uplift of 12% compared to the same timeframe in three years ago.

Shaun Hinds, CEO at Manchester Central, said: “These last few months have been some of our busiest ever and demand has been incredibly strong. It’s brilliant to see events bounce back in the way that they have and I’m so pleased to have the buzz back under our roof again.

“These latest results show that there’s a real appetite for hosting large events in person right here in Manchester. And that has a really important positive impact on the recovery of the wider region, as spending around the venue on hotels, bars, restaurants, travel and much more has increased once again.

“It’s fantastic to see the city thriving, supporting jobs and helping to put the region on the global map.”

Live meetings will be ‘more digitally charged’

The future of live conferences may be more “more digitally charged” with the vast majority containing virtual components, according to a new study.

IACC’s latest Meeting Room of the Future report sets out industry insights on the recovery of the global business events sector.

It represents the top 1% of small to midsize conference venues, with respondents telling the survey that tech tools would likely play a major part moving forward.

Mark Cooper, IACC CEO, said: “I believe we should be mindful of how far technology for hybrid meetings has progressed.

“Although there may be short term high demand to attend live, the longer-term picture may see more digitally charged live meetings taking place.

“Especially if the cost to travel and attend the meetings remains high.”

The findings come after an UFI study found digitisation of exhibitions through services and products has continued to accelerate.

Findings from the latest Global Barometer show 65% of companies worldwide added these features to existing shows – up from 58% in 2019.

Asia-Pacific is leading this change at 71%, followed by Middle East & Africa (67%), North America (63%) and Europe (62%).

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