COP26 and the Sustainable Future of Events – Part 2

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By Alex Hughes, Co-founder, Totem Hybrid Events

In my previous post, I outlined how hybrid event technology represents the sustainable future of events, in which people from across the world can attend from anywhere and vastly reduce the carbon footprint of the event in doing so.

We’ve recently been involved in turning Climate Week NYC into a hybrid event. This brought speakers including the Governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, Al Gore and Bill Gates to a global audience with minimal impact on the environment, allowing attendees to log in using a virtual events platform.

The event was a huge focus for the global sustainability movement ahead of COP26, with over 3,000 registrations from senior business and government leaders taking part across the world.


Moving faster to find solutions

In the model that I’ve just outlined, we need to make every event as good for virtual as it is for those who attend in person. We need to make the user experience equal for everyone, wherever they’re joining from – and that blended experience of the physical and virtual is how we get true engagement for all kinds of attendees.

By allowing people to have an event in their pocket from the moment they leave the house to the moment they get home, we can spread the load of personal impact wider and deeper. This will make networking as fluid and friction-free as possible.

A hybrid event enables people to use technology to connect more easily. And this is important because the Climate Clock is ticking – counting down the critical time window to reach zero emissions. By using hybrid event technology at important events such as Climate Week and COP26, people can arrive at solutions more quickly.

There is no doubting the importance of face-to-face when it comes to networking – particularly when the ultimate goal is to deliver on promises, however not all stages of the networking process need to be physical until that final moment. Instead of waiting weeks to meet in person, we can meet virtually within minutes, thus accelerating the process of change.



Not only does tech offer the opportunity for people to minimise their carbon footprint, it also offers innovative solutions that can make sustainable activities more engaging and therefore more meaningful.

We recently worked with Informa Connect on a mobile App for attendees of its physical events worldwide. This App uses gamification functionality to allow users to collect points that convert into the planting of new mangroves under Million Mangroves, an established and fully validated project that supports positive climate action.

The Million Mangroves project plants and protects mangroves in the Philippines, Kenya and Indonesia that store huge amounts of carbon – up to four times more than rainforests – while protecting wildlife habitats and supporting local communities.


The challenge

The entire events industry needs to come together to find ways to achieve shared sustainability goals via technology and innovation. By offering opportunities and choices to our attendees, sponsors and exhibitors, we can provide more chances to not only reduce the industry’s carbon footprint, but to actively be a driving force in evolving the business world’s approach to ESG.